By Kerry Aubry, Animal Behavior College
Eighteen months ago the Department of Defense introduced the Military Spouse Career Advancement Program (MyCAA), enabling spouses of active military personnel to receive tuition funding for Associates Degrees and Career Certificate Programs. In that time, Animal Behavior College (ABC) has enrolled over 1,000 military spouses through the program; preparing them for animal careers. The Lakewood area is home to over 40 ABC military spouse students and graduates.
Recent research by the Rand Corporation shows that military spouses are on the average paid less and employed at lower rates than civilian spouses with the same skill set. The viability and portability of the education and career opportunities that ABC offers has the potential to change those statistics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the pet industry is projected to grow 21% by the year 2018, making animal careers a sound choice in these uncertain economic times.
Lakewood resident Donald High ABCVA is a recent graduate of ABC. Not only is Donald’s wife currently serving at Fort Lewis; Donald recently completed his own tour as and Army Infantryman. He chose ABC because of its flexibility and hands on training. Donald is now a certified Veterinary Assistant working the Banfield Pet Hospital in Lakewood. Another local ABC graduate is Ashley Jeanes who lives on base at Fort Lewis. Ashley received her certificate in dog training from ABC last year and recently opened the K9 Connection, a training school focused on behavior modification.