SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 became effective Oct. 1, 2019 and brought changes to the Transition Assistance Program, designed to ease the transition from military to civilian life.
The legislation added three additional requirements to the previous mandatory requirement, pre-separation counseling. To be compliant with the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act, service members now must complete pre-separation counseling, Department of Labor employment workshop, VA Benefits briefing and a capstone. In addition, three, two-day tracks were added to the overall curriculum for entrepreneurial, vocational and higher education.
The separation process will now start with an initial counseling session with a TAP representative from the Airman and Family Readiness Center. This meeting helps Airmen understand what requirements they need to complete before their separation.
During the session, Airmen will complete a self-assessment, which will help determine what tier the Airman is placed in. Airmen can be placed in one of three tiers. Each tier has different requirements and helps determine how ready they are for separation from the military. Tier one is for service members who are well prepared, and tier three is for Airmen who are least prepared.
“The next step is to participate in pre-separation counseling,” said Heidi Goodbar, 50th Force Support Squadron TAP manager. “This provides briefings on various benefits, programs, services and other important resources members can use to ease their transition into the civilian sector.”
Per the new NDAA, Airmen must complete their initial counseling and pre-separation counseling no later than 365 days prior to their separation or retirement date.
The third step is completing the three mandatory specialized TAP workshops. These consist of the required VA Benefits and Service briefing, a Department of Labor employment workshop and the Department of Defense briefing that covers finances, resiliency and a Military Occupational Code crosswalk to identify skills and career goals.
Airmen may also be required to attend two-day tracks depending on their selected path. These include an employment, educational, vocational and an entrepreneur track. Airman who aren’t required to attend the additional tracks may optionally participate if interested.
The final step is the capstone meeting Airmen have to attend no later than 90 days prior to separation. This appointment verifies whether service members have or have not met the required activities to ensure they’re prepared to transition out of the military effectively and pursue their personal post-separation goals.
“We strive for total preparation for the civilian sector,” said Cheryl Jensen, 50th FSS work life specialist. “Civilian life is completely different and we want to make sure everyone is taken care of.”
For additional information, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 567-3920.