The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is changing its Transition Assistance Program (TAP) to provide a more individualized approach to transitioning into civilian life.
Here’s what’s new:
Prior to leaving, service members will meet with a counselor to determine if their level of readiness for civilian life is A. unprepared, B. somewhat prepared or C. totally have sh*t together.
The “C” people are likely either retiring or have a job lined up, while the “B” folks have an idea about what they want to do and the “A”’s don’t, possibly due to having to leave on short notice as a result of injury or misconduct.
Based on the service member’s interests, skills and experience, counselors will help guide them through a process that involves deciding on a career and what training, if any, is required to get hired.
Service members will be advised to pursue one of four tracks:
- Higher education
- Vocational skills training
These counseling sessions will take place over two days that conclude the DoD’s five-day “Transition GPS” program. Previously an optional course, it’s now required of the “A” group in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Other information presented during the program includes how to prepare for civilian life and how to access programs for veterans.
The new services will be available on October 1, 2019, according to the DoD. All service members interested must enroll no later than 365 days before getting out of the military. This is a significant change, as the DoD previously allowed service members to enroll up to 90 days prior to their departure.
The department wants to improve the program’s low participation rate with a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finding less than 3% of eligible service members complete the program nine months or more before they leave. The hope is that with an earlier mandated start date, more service members will have enough time to complete the program.
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