Success Story: MaiLani Cruz, Prudential Financial

From the outside looking in, being married to someone who serves in the military seems pretty great. As a military spouse, you receive financial assistance from the government for pursuing your education, have great health insurance benefits, are provided with travel opportunities, and can take advantage of perks such as discounts at the grocery store. But it’s not always rosy.

As someone who has been married to an active duty soldier in the Army for a year and a half, one thing I’ve had to sacrifice was career stability. I struggled with figuring out ways to balance my family life while pursuing the profession that I was passionate about: project management. It was extremely hard for me to secure jobs because employers knew that when my husband was deployed, there was a 50/50 chance that I would have to leave the company to be closer to him.

Before learning about Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS) in October 2017, I was working as a project manager for the United States Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. At the time my husband—who was living in El Paso, Texas—received a promotion and would have to stay in Texas for five more years. For my family and me, the news was bittersweet. Although I was happy that he would be rising through the ranks in the military, his promotion meant that I would have to relocate to El Paso, TX and find new a new job to keep our family intact and under one roof. I relocated to El Paso in October 2017.

While browsing the web for project management jobs in El Paso, I came across a WOS ad on Indeed. After learning about the organization, I knew that it was an opportunity that I had to take advantage of. Applying to the program gave me a sense of hope that I would be able to survive the transition to a new city. I applied in November 2017 and got accepted into the WOS-Prudential TAP program that prepares individuals for project coordinator and business analyst roles at Prudential. I’m currently in the academic phase of the program where I’m taking courses on business communications, project management and interpersonal skills.

Through the program I’ve been able to work towards earning my Project Management certificate from the Project Management Institute and my Entry Certificate in Business Analysis from the International Institute of Business Analysis. WOS is paying for both certificates, which will serve me well as I transition into the WOS consultancy phase at Prudential.

WOS has not only given me the opportunity to level up in my career by putting real certifications and training behind my experience, but has been an integral part of giving my family and me a stronger sense of stability that we didn’t have in the past. All of the pieces of my life are starting to fall in place. I’m thankful that I’ve found an organization that recognizes that military spouses have unique needs, and is dedicated to pulling us out of the cycle of having to constantly start new jobs due to relocation. I’m beyond excited about what the future holds for my career!