By Debbie Gregory.
With the implementation of the Defense Department’s revamped Transition Assistance Program (TAP), military members leaving the service should receive better guidance as they navigate the transition.
The search for veteran jobs and veteran friendly schools is made easier with the services now offered through TAP. Aspiring veteran business owners can also seek the help of the office as they move from the uniform to launching their own businesses.
Dr. Susan S. Kelly, principal director of the DOD’s Transition to Veterans Program Office, testified before the HASC Subcommittee on Military Personnel both on the status of the requirements of the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act and the recommendations of the Presidential Veteran Employment Initiative Task Force for the redesigned TAP. Both have placed veteran jobs, veteran schools and help with Post 9/11 GI Bill issues at the top of their agendas.
“[The DOD] and its partners have fundamentally redesigned TAP, making the needs of today’s service members and their families a top priority,” Kelly said, adding that the redesigned program encompasses the requirements of the VOW Act, in addition to recommendations from the Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force.
The new TAP, now in its second phase of use, is known as the DOD Transition Assistance Program: Goals, Plans and Success, or TAP GPS. TAP GPS is the cornerstone of the DOD’s transition efforts and a collaborative partnership among the Defense, Veterans Affairs, Labor and Education departments, the Small Business Administration and the Office of Personnel management.
Kelly told the group that the overall goal is to prepare service members who are heading into the civilian sector, as they search for education and employment opportunities that are veteran friendly. She went on to say that the core of the redesigned TAP establishes the new career readiness standards, extends the transition preparation through the entire span of service members’ careers, and provides counseling to develop their individual transition plan.
TAP will be part of the Military Life Cycle Transition model that will be in place by the end of fiscal year 2014. That program aims to “empower service members to make informed career decisions and take responsibility for advancing their personal goals”, Kelly said.