How This Mentorship Program Put a Military Spouse on a Path to Success

How This Mentorship Program Put a Military Spouse on a Path to Success

Note from MOAA: American Corporate Partners (ACP) is a national nonprofit organization focused on helping veterans, transitioning military members, and active-duty military spouses find their next career. Their yearlong, no-cost, customized mentorship programs connect applicants with career professionals from more than 100 Fortune 500 brands.


Not sure whether the program is right for you? Leslie Coffey, ACPs’ coordinator of military engagement, shared this story of one spouse’s professional journey.


[RELATED: ACP Veteran Mentoring Program for MOAA Members] 


Meet Heidi

When ACP protégé Heidi, submitted her Spouse Protégé Application in October of 2020, she, like many other military spouses, didn’t know what to expect from our mentorship program. She had previously tried résumé-building websites and other professional resources but had never tried a mentorship customized to her aspirations -- in fact, she wasn’t sure what those aspirations were.


As an active-duty military spouse, Heidi had always taken the first job she was offered, regardless of whether it aligned with her level of experience or education. This might not seem unfamiliar -- when you’re a military spouse, there is less emphasis placed on building a career and more emphasis on finding employment, period. As a result, Heidi took jobs working in construction, nonprofit, and health care. When she and her husband discussed his retirement, she knew it was time to start evaluating what her career needs were, but she felt like she was starting from scratch. 


[RELATED: Career Resources for Military Spouses]


On her first call with ACP, her point of contact, Krista, asked about her goals for the mentorship and what industries she would want her mentor to have experience in. She decided it would be most helpful to be paired with someone who had undergone some sort of career transition (though not necessarily military to civilian), regardless of industry, so she could see how her mentor decided between and evaluated different roles. 


They decided to start small. Regardless of where Heidi wanted to end up, she would need a strong résumé to get her there. Heidi and Krista set to work identifying all her past responsibilities and skills from the different roles she held. She quickly learned that even though she hadn’t professionally worked in the health care field in the same capacity that she might have worked administratively in nonprofit or construction, the skills she needed to succeed were the same.


Once she had finalized her résumé, Krista set Heidi up on some informational phone calls with various people in her network. After speaking with Krista’s contacts, Heidi realized she wanted to become a surgical technician. 


In January 2021, Heidi applied to a very competitive surgical technician training program that had only 16 slots available. In March, she was tentatively accepted into the program as an alternate. With Krista’s support, Heidi advocated for herself, doing whatever she could to ensure she got a spot in the program and that she would be ready when she did. 


[RELATED: MOAA’s MilSpouse Remote Telework Grant Program]


Sure enough, Heidi’s advisor called her in April; she said that of 300 other applicants who were selected as alternates, Heidi stood out to her because of how passionate and proactive she had been in the process. Heidi started classes in May and will be completing credits until the main program starts up in the fall.


Not only is she inspired by her career path, but she is also confident in her networking skills and ability to make connections with her fellow students and her instructors. As Heidi’s coursework ramps up heading into the fall, she and Krista intend to stay in touch and continue working together on interview techniques and reformatting her LinkedIn page.


Heidi is already looking ahead to the future possibilities of internships and of course, eventual employment once she completes her coursework and earns her certification in May 2022. 


When Heidi joined ACP, she was, in a word, unsure. Unsure about her next career move, unsure about herself, and unsure whether an ACP mentorship would make a difference in her life. Heidi is far from unsure now. The mentorship provided the opportunity to connect with people of different industries and offered her the space to self-reflect and evaluate what aspects of a career were important to her. Sometimes, all it takes is some guidance to figure out the next right step. 


Get Involved

Spouses seeking mentorship opportunities or interested in becoming a mentor can apply at the ACP website. You can also connect with ACP via social media (LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram). Get more information on ACP at this link.  



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