‘Transition GPS’ will steer Soldiers toward civilian careers
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON — A redesigned program for service members separating from the military will help veterans better apply the experience they’ve gained in uniform, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.
President Barack Obama announced the revamped program, called “Transition GPS,” in a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Reno, Nev., July 23.
“I applaud the leadership of President Obama to bring together government agencies around the goal of enhancing career opportunities for service members,” Panetta said. “Our personnel have developed extraordinary technical expertise and world-class leadership skills that are in high demand. Transition GPS will help military members apply their experience to additional training, formal education and develop successful civilian careers.”
Transition GPS is the first major overhaul of the military’s Transition Assistance Program, or TAP, in nearly 20 years. TAP was developed by an interagency team from the departments of Defense; Veterans Affairs; Labor; Education; and Homeland Security, as well as with the Office of Personnel and Management and the Small Business Administration.
Eric Shinseki, secretary, Veterans Affairs, said the redesign will better ensure veterans today and in the future will receive the care and benefits they have earned.
“One of our fundamental responsibilities as a government is to properly prepare and support those serving in our military so they are career ready as they transition back into civilian life,” Shinseki said. “This collaborative effort will have an impact well beyond this current generation of individuals returning from combat.”
The redesign is being developed by the Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force, which was created in August 2011 to help separating service members successfully transition to the civilian workforce, start a business or pursue higher education.
TAP consisted of pre-separation counseling and a voluntary, three-day workshop from the departments of Labor, Defense and Veterans Affairs that was presented at selected military installations and attended by nearly half of service members who separated from the services each year.
Transition GPS is designed to strengthen, standardize and expand counseling and guidance for service members before leaving the military, and transform the military’s approach to education, training and credentialing.
Transition GPS is to be implemented throughout the military by the end of 2013. It will:
•Extend the current three-day transition program to five to seven days in length;
•Offer individual assessment and counseling, including an individual transition plan;
•Include a five-day curriculum of financial planning, available veterans’ benefits and services, and a redesigned employment workshop;
•Include a “Military Occupational Code Crosswalk” to translate military skills, training and experiences into civilian occupations and credentialing;
•Include optional training specific to pursuing higher education, technical skills and training, or starting a business;
•Include a “capstone” event to verify that the participant is career-ready;
•Give a “warm handover” to appropriate government agencies and organizations for continued benefits, services and support of veterans; and
•Create a “Military Life Cycle Transition Model” to incorporate career readiness and transition preparation early into a service member’s career.