A program providing military spouses with the opportunity to earn an Accredited Financial Counselor® certification extended its deadline to June 1.
Military spouses continue to grapple with unemployment rates in the double digits, at roughly 16% according to a 2017 survey conducted by U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In response to the ongoing financial hardship created by joblessness, organizations are partnering to offer resources that enable more portable career options.
The Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education® and the FINRA Foundation, in partnership with the National Military Family Association created the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship program. The program provides military spouses the opportunity to earn the Accredited Financial Counselor® certification while providing valuable financial counseling and education to the military community.
Meredith Lozar, director of Military Spouse Programs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is an AFCPE board member who previously participated in the fellowship program and earned her AFC certification in 2012.
“At the time I was working full time. My husband was doing his fourth combat tour in Afghanistan, and I had a two-and-a-half-year-old. I loved the AFC because I was working in the financial industry and it gave me the flexibility to get a certification that could move with me, knowing that we would not be in one place forever,” Lozar said.
This program is free for military spouses and classes are available online. Lozar says she was able to schedule her studies around her daily responsibilities.
“I went to classes on the weekends. I did the work at night when I wasn’t in school,” she said. “What’s wonderful about the program is that it’s really flexible. So, you could do a couple of hours maybe while a child is napping or you know, whatever ends up working for you. You can do it from your living room.”
The fellowship program exists to:
- Train a corps of military spouses to provide financial counseling and education within the military community,
- Help military spouses achieve career goals and aspirations and enhance job-related marketability, and
- Develop personal financial management skills of military families.
Lozar has used her AFC designation to lead other financial counselors and provide financial counseling to service members, military spouses and families from the Marine Corps, Navy and Army. Other opportunities can include working in the finance department at a university or even starting a tax company.
After completing the program, FINRA fellows take part in a mentorship program that often leads to job opportunities. The foundation also offers a dashboard for certified AFCs to register and setup a profile. This allows corporations to identify practicing AFCs and possibly offer contracts or job opportunities.
“If you have a vision and you want to open some more doors for your career then this is definitely for you,” Lozar said. “It is a path of flexibility, portability and it can be a path of career progression.”
The new application deadline to apply for this year’s program is June 1.
For steps to apply check the website: https://www.afcpe.org/resource-center/funding-and-recognition/finra-foundation-military-spouse-fellowship/read-first-then-apply/