Season 1, Episode 7

IVMF: Supporting Your Professional Development
with Karen Francis
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You can tune in to the With Pride & Grit podcast on your preferred podcast platform or watch the videocast on Youtube.

Meet our Guest: 
IVMF provides no-cost training and pays for one certification exam – which helps military spouses consolidate their varied experiences and validate their knowledge for recruiters/hiring managers.

Karen Francis is the Installation Program manager for IVMF’s Onward to Opportunity – National Capital Area Region. She is a veteran spouse – Army Spouse and Army Mom. She loves working with our military spouse community and became a career coach to do so.

Show Notes:

In this episode, Jen Pasquale is joined by the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ (IVMF) Karen Francis, Installation Program manager for IVMF’s Onward to Opportunity – National Capital Area Region. Karen takes a deep dive into IVMF’s professional development support program, Onward to Opportunity (o2o.) She highlights the significance of practicing patience when pursuing certifications. It can be advantageous to prioritize securing a job in your desired field first, evaluating its suitability, and then leveraging certifications to enhance your competitiveness within the organization. The conversation delves into how certifications can assist military spouses in demonstrating their value and showcasing their experience, despite resume gaps resulting from frequent relocations. Several popular certifications such as PMP, AWS Cloud, and Security Plus are mentioned. The episode offers an overview of available resources to aid military spouses in narrowing down career choices, obtaining certifications, and establishing connections with recruiters and hiring directors.

Karen underscores the importance of selecting a career path that aligns with one’s interests and values, rather than solely for financial reasons. She suggests utilizing free resources and conducting informational interviews to gain a better understanding of potential certifications before making a commitment. Furthermore, the challenges faced by military spouses in finding employment due to frequent moves and the difficulty of conveying their job history to employers are discussed. The episode also highlights ongoing advocacy efforts aimed at supporting military spouses in employment and career development. Karen shares invaluable information and resources for military spouses seeking to pursue certifications and advance their careers.

Employment is one of those issues that's not just about money... It's about your career aspirations...that has a severe detrimental effect on your mental health as well.

Karen’s Top Transition Tip:

“I would strongly advise people to make sure that they keep hold of that community that they had…Make sure you’re keeping that community connection because we as a community understand what the other person’s gone through. When you get out into the civilian world, you’re going to find they don’t they have no idea what you’ve done. They don’t understand. And it’s just easier to be able to talk to someone and ask a question without having to re explain your language.”

Resources & Mentions from this Episode:

IVMF’s Learning Pathways & Prerequisites

The certification has to fit the career path that you want to get into. So rather than talk to me or any other career coach, talk to someone who's doing the job

Pride & Grit is a Trademark of Hinshaw Consulting  2018 © & Pride & Grit Consulting 2021© All rights reserved.

Pride & Grit is a Trademark of Hinshaw Consulting Group, Inc 2018© and Pride & Grit Consulting, LLC. 2022© All rights reserved.