Service members give thumbs up for new transition program

| November 6, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Transition Program prepares soldiers for private sector jobs.

Terri Moon Cronk
DOD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON — In the latest survey results from graduates of the military’s redesigned Transition Assistance Program (TAP), more than 80 percent of former service members said the curriculum prepared them well to re-enter the civilian workforce, a DOD official told a House Armed Services Committee panel, Oct. 28.

Susan Kelly, DOD’s director of the Transition to Veterans Program, joined service leaders to update the committee’s military personnel subcommittee on the progress of the program, which was significantly expanded two years ago under Kelly’s direction.

The new weeklong mandatory curriculum is now offered in full at 206 installations, she said, adding that it offers four core components:

1- Adopt career readiness standards, or CRS, which measure a service member’s preparedness to depart from active duty.

2- Develop Transition GPS, a curriculum that builds the skills needed by service members to meet the CRS.

3- A capstone event, during which commanders verify their members have met CRS, or, if not, ensure that they receive additional training or a warm handover.

4- Implementation to the military lifecycle transition model, which aligns transition activities with touchpoints across the military career.


Positive Results

“We’ve accomplished these core objectives, and the results are clear,” Kelly said, citing the most recent participant assessment data, in which more than 80 percent of the participants said they “gained valuable information and skills to plan their transition, that the training enhanced their confidence in their transition, they intended to use what they learned in the classes, and that they knew how to access appropriate resources post separation.”

Kelly said more than 150,000 service members separated from active duty between October 2014 and August 2015.

“Based on data verified by the Defense Manpower Data Center,” she told the panel, “94 percent of these eligible members met the (Veterans Opportunity to Work, or VOW, Act) mandate; 88 percent either met career readiness standards or received a warm handover.”

The redesigned program encompasses the requirements of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011.TAP was reorganized and reintroduced in 2013 as required training for service members transitioning back to civilian life to pursue careers and further their education, Kelly said in an earlier interview with DOD News.


Partner agencies add resources

“These results indicate the commitment of the services and our partners to prepare members for civilian life,” Kelly testified, adding that partner agencies include Veterans Affairs, the Labor and Education departments, the Small Business Administration and the Office of Personnel Management.

Such agency cooperation has become an integral part of the program’s interagency governance structure, which assesses and modifies the program in concert with the services to continually improve the program, she added.

In the last two years, both public and private organizations recognized that service members “present an incredible pool of talent, and they seek increased opportunities to harness that talent,” Kelly said.

“In collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Foundation Hiring Our Heroes, we’ve helped shape the environment in which employers gain early access to transitioning service members and their spouses,” she noted.

So far this year, thousands of members have attended 18 large-scale transition summits at U.S. and overseas installations, she said, adding that the Energy, Agriculture and Homeland Security departments target service members for industry jobs.

“Through the SkillBridge authority, under the office of the assistant secretary of defense for readiness, a growing number of members have developed skills for employment in high-demand industries,” Kelly pointed out.

The redesigned program has had tremendous forward movement, Kelly told the panel.

“But we must continue to work with federal partners and the private sector to gather lessons learned, improve the curriculum, instill a culture of planning for post-military life and develop pipelines into the national workforce,” she added.

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Category: Defense Media Activity, News, Veterans

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