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Transition program navigates military to civilian move

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Transitioning back to the civilian world may be daunting to many Airmen, especially those who have grown accustomed to military life.

Fortunately, transition assistance programs are available to help separating and retiring military members, deactivating reservists, their families and Department of Defense civilians.

"There are several mandatory steps that military members have to take," said Andrea Hernandez, Airman and Family Readiness Center transition program manager. "Airmen begin with a mandatory pre-separation briefing, which provides an overview of what your transition is going to look like, including benefits."

The next step goes into Transition Goals Plans Success, a comprehensive, mandatory program through the efforts of an interagency team from the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, Department of Education, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Personnel Management and the Small Business Administration. This was the result of a redesigned transition assistance program.

Known as Transition GPS, the program is a cohesive modular, outcome-based program that provides opportunities and aids a successful transition into a career-ready civilian. It bolsters and standardizes the transition services that service members receive prior to separating from the military to make them employment ready as well as prepared to enter into higher education, attend career technical training or start their own business.

"It is a five-day course," said Hernandez. "The first day of the course includes taking your military skills and translating them into the civilian sector for jobs. You also do a financial briefing as well as resiliency because transition for a lot of people is stressful. We want to make sure they know the resources available to them, some techniques and more to help them and their family members."

During the second to fourth day, attendees will receive information on the individual goals, job search, resume writing, trends and more. The program teaches these members basic-job hunting skills, tools and self-confidence necessary to secure successful employment in the civilian workforce.

"The last day of Transition GPS covers Veterans Affairs benefits briefing and it includes what your entitlements are," Hernandez said.

Following this, there are also three tracks that service members can take - entrepreneurial, educational and vocational/technical. Each track is tailored to the service members' goal. The transition course concludes with a capstone event, which includes completing Form 2958 to ensure they meet all the requirements.

"Transition GPS helps ease the mental and emotional side of the separation process allowing service members to make informed decisions, set goals for civilian life and gain the skills and resources needed to meet those goals," said Rashaud Smith, Air Force Personnel Center Airman and Family Sustainment Branch community readiness analyst, . "The program offers planning tools ranging from preparing a 12-month post-separation budget to how to build a business plan and start your own business."

Though Transition GPS is generally targeted to service members, DOD civilians may attend the first four days since some information may apply to them, Hernandez said. It is also highly encouraged to have dependents, especially spouses to attend some of the briefings.

Additionally, service members should begin looking at the transition process at least a year before they retire or separate from the service. The A&FRC also offers other classes that may help in the transition process, LinkedIn, Dress for Success, TRICARE briefing, investing classes and more.

For more information or to schedule appointments, call A&FRC at 567-3920.

(Some information courtesy of Janis El Shabazz, Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs)
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