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Transition Assistance Program changes format

Posted 11/28/2012   Updated 11/28/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


11/28/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- As a result of the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 and the Veterans Employment Initiative, the Department of Defense is expanding its transition support to separating and retiring members of the military.

Here at Hanscom, initial implementation will start with the next Transition Assistance Program seminar Dec. 10 through 14. Full implementation is expected in early 2013. Servicemembers who are retiring or separating should expect some changes to the program.

In the past, the Airman and Family Readiness Center hosted three full days and two half days of the transition assistance seminar each month. Representatives from the Massachusetts Division of Career Services Veterans' Employment and Training Program presented the Department of Labor employment workshop, followed by a veterans' panel, an employer panel and a veterans' benefits briefing from local Veterans Affairs staff. The seminar was voluntary and primarily PowerPoint-based.

Now, the TAP workshop has been standardized across the DoD and is mandatory for servicemembers, with some exceptions. The A&FRC will partner with new representatives from the departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs over the course of a full week to help military members with their transition to the civilian world.

"Airman and Family Readiness Center staff will present new core curriculum on practical aspects of the transition process to separating and retiring members on day one," said Dawn Andreucci, A&FRC community readiness consultant. "Days two through four will involve a newly contracted representative from the Department of Labor, and day five will feature a new representative from the VA headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst."

Changes have also been made to the mandatory preseparation counseling, which formally begins the transition process. The counseling is held each week at the A&FRC. All servicemembers must complete this counseling before they can attend the TAP workshop. In addition to the DD Form 2648, attendees will receive an Individual Transition Plan to begin filling out. Servicemembers will bring the form to the TAP workshop to complete. They will also be required to enroll in the VA's eBenefits program.

"There are several other things military members must bring with them to TAP, including their own laptop or tablet, if possible," said Andreucci. "If they don't have a laptop, we have a limited number to loan out for the class."

Other items to bring include medical records, a copy of a leave and earnings statement, a copy of a credit report, verification of military experience and training, performance reports and education transcripts.

"The goal of the new TAP program is to better prepare our servicemembers for a successful life outside of the military," said Andreucci. "By the end of the week, you'll have a realistic financial plan, a draft resume and a comprehensive career plan, which might include employment, education or entrepreneurship."

The new TAP format also allows some members to be exempt from portions of the workshop. Every separating or retiring servicemember will be required to attend preseparation counseling and the VA portion of the TAP workshop on day five. For exempted members, attending day two through four will be voluntary. More information about exempted servicemembers will be provided by the A&FRC.

"The idea is to have the military members completely signed up for all benefits and have a viable individual transition plan by the end of the class," Andreucci said. "You can expect even more changes in early 2013 as the DoD works to make sure everyone has the tools they need to enjoy retirement or be successful when they enter the civilian or private sector workforce or educational institution."

For further information about the new TAP format, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 781-225-2765.



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