NORFOLK (NNS) -- Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and reservists who are getting out attend the "TGPS" transition program hosted by the Fleet and Family Support Center.
"I am separating in about a month after being in the Navy five years and 10 months," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Rigel Skinner, stationed aboard the cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56). "So after TGPS [Transition Goals, Plans, Success], I have a resume now and a lot of other things that I didn't even know I needed, so I am glad I am here."
Sailors, alongside Marines, Coast Guardsmen and reservists who are getting out attend the transition program hosted by the Fleet and Family Support Center. TGPS is mandatory for service members with less than a year left in their contract intending to separate from service. The program is designed to provide resources to service members transitioning back into the civilian workforce or formal education.
"It's a requirement for demobilizing reservists," said Builder 3rd Class Kelley Gee, assigned to Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 18. "I just got back from a six-month deployment to Chad. This is a lot of good information because I am looking for a job as soon as we get back. I am interested in the resume stuff, mostly. I had a pretty generic one."
The class spent a full day focused on the art of resume writing. The resume is an often underestimated part of the employment process, but it's the one chance the job seeker has to capture the employer's attention.
"The biggest thing is analyzing military skills and seeing what that can do, in terms of employment," said Matthew Krivda, a transition educator. "Some don't know what they want to do. One way to identify career fields that would be a good fit for them is through an interest profiler. It's just a series of questions for them to answer. We have them pick a direction and build a resume from that, and it all leads to coming out the door employment-ready."
Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) teams with the Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service to create a comprehensive program for transitioning Sailors.
"We want Sailors to leave here with the skills necessary," said Krivda. "A lot of times they have a resume, and in their mind, they think they are completely ready. We want them to know how to put together another resume or how to conduct themselves in an interview, things like that."
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans suggests the struggle for post-military employment for veterans is in-part due to the differences between civilian and military training. The non-profit organization estimates about 40,000 veterans are homeless.
"My opinion is that it has a lot to do with how we are trained in the military," said Krivda. "We are trained to find a way - trained to get it done. We are used to having a team and not relying on ourselves. And so I think that they aren't really willing to seek out help or even become familiar with what resources are out there."
FFSC takes a proactive approach to veterans' concerns. Any need or hardship expressed by service members and veterans can be met by the center's flexible infrastructure.
"I love it when the Sailors come back," said Krivda. They are thankful because they are prepared or they have a job. "A lot of times it's rewarding by Friday because in just about every class you will have a couple of Sailors that will have a phone interview set up. That's a lot of stress off their shoulders. You just see the change from a stressed out Sailor who doesn't know what's next, to their life's set."
Sailors in the Norfolk area can contact FFSC at 757-444-2102. GW Sailors interested in signing up for the transition class, should talk with their departmental career counselor for more information.
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