By Debbie Gregory.
At Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and at Fort Carson, Colorado, 27 total Servicemembers graduated the Warrior Training Advancement Course (WARTAC). The course is designed to assist Soldiers transitioning from active duty to veteran status find potential employment as Veteran Service Representatives at Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) offices throughout the country.
The program, a result of a DOD/VA partnership, is open to those currently serving in Warrior Transition Units on major military installations, and addresses two common myths: “Why doesn’t VA hire Veterans?” and “VA should hire Veterans to process Veterans’ claims.” WARTAC reintegrates soldiers whose careers ended prematurely into continuing their service, resulting in a job upon graduation.
“This is like a promotion,” said James Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense—and 21-year USMC Veteran, to the graduates and unit leaders in the crowd. “You are the future leaders of a great organization, but right now, you’re taking the initiative to impact the lives of other Veterans.”
VSRs, along with Rating Veterans Service Representatives (RVSRs), do the bulk work in processing Veteran’s disability claims. Since disability entitlements open the door to additional VA benefits, the VSR is a challenging and rewarding position—and one that’s also a fantastic entry opportunity into VA and the federal government.
“This program enables us to increase opportunities to get quality employees who can do the job that is needed to support our veterans,” said John Fickel, training lead, Compensation Service, Veterans Benefits Administration.
When the Servicemembers complete training, the graduates can get hired into one of VBA’s 56 regional offices (one in each state, including Puerto Rico and the Philippines, but some big states have multiple locations).
Eligibility for WARTAC is open to active duty Servicemembers in the transition process. It’s currently only offered at Fort Carson and Fort Belvoir, but the goal is to expand the program nationally. Additionally, applicants must be endorsed by their Chain of Command, and they must be available to attend the 14-week training program and to begin employment within 120 days from initiation of their training.
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WARTAC Trains Transitioning Warriors: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory