Most service members agree that transitioning from the military into civilian life requires a new set of skills regardless of rank or the number of years served. Whether you plan to seek employment, attend an institution of higher education, obtain a credential or start a business, the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) curriculum, Transition Goals, Plans, Success (GPS), courses are your ‘basic training’ for transitioning out of the military.
The transition process begins with Pre-separation Counseling—a mandatory session where counselors introduce the Individual Transition Plan (ITP) to discuss education and training, employment and career goals, financial management, health and well-being, and relocation and housing, amongst a myriad of benefits and services available to veterans.
The next step in the process is to register for the Transition GPS courses. At most installations, this is a five-day event comprised of the following components:
- Resilient Transition: Introduction to resources on transition-related issues including stress management, common concerns, the value of a mentor and pre-and post-transition resources.
- Military Occupational Code (MOC) Crosswalk: Session on how to translate military skills, training and experience into credentialing appropriate for civilian jobs.
- Financial Planning for Transition: Workshop to provide the information and tools needed to identify post-transition financial responsibilities, obligations and goals.
- Department of Labor (DOL) Employment Workshop: Workshop led by DOL focusing on job-seeking techniques such as interview skills and building effective resumes.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits and Services: Presents an overview of VA benefits and services, how to apply for them and connect to VA for future assistance.
Additional two-day tracks are offered, which focus on three self-selected paths: Accessing Higher Education, for those pursuing a college education; Career Exploration and Planning, for those wanting to assess their skills, aptitudes and work values and explore training and credentialing options; and Entrepreneurship (Boots to Business) for those wanting basic information on how to start their own business.
Some compare the transition process to what they experienced when joining the military and going through basic training. Like basic training, some of the workshop material will confirm existing knowledge while other subjects will be less familiar. Given the abundance of information presented over five days, it is recommended that you continue to review the information after the workshops.
Whether you have just finished your week of Transition GPS workshops and want to review or want to share what you learned with your family members, the Transition GPS participant guides are available to you online.
Online training modules and participant guides (with writable PDFs) can be accessed without a common access card (CAC) by veterans, service members, spouses, family members and caregivers 24/7 via the Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) standalone website, located here: http://go.usa.gov/xQJyv
This site provides access to resources for you and your family members both during and after your transition out of the military. Just as you learned new skills and adapted to the military culture, you can now use these resources to navigate a successful transition back into civilian life.
For more information on TAP, contact the Transition Assistance Program Manager on any military installation.
Transition to Veterans Program Office