TAP Class Helps Out-Processing Sailors Adjust

Story Number: NNS031112-06Release Date: 11/12/2003 9:11:00 AM
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By Journalist 2nd Class Mike England, Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Whether a servicemember retires after 20 years or gets out after just one tour, the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) meets the needs of separating service members. The program helps servicemembers during their period of transition into civilian life by offering job-search assistance and related services.

The law creating TAP established a partnership between DoD, Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Transportation and the Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), to give employment and training information to armed forces members within 12 months of separation or 24 months of retirement.

TAP helps service members make the initial transition from military service to the civilian workplace with less difficulty and at less overall cost to the government. An independent national evaluation of the program estimated that service members who had participated in TAP, on average, found their first post-military job three weeks sooner than those who did not participate in TAP.

"We tell them what it's really like in the civilian job market. The majority of them came in right out of high school and have never written a resume or searched for a job," said Gary Macik, a counselor for the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program.

TAP consists of comprehensive three- to five-day workshops at most military installations nationwide. Professionally-trained workshop facilitators from the State Employment Services, military family support services, Department of Labor contractors, or VETS staff present the workshops. Subject matter covered includes a half-day pre-separation counseling, half-day DTAP, and three to four days of TAP materials.

"We emphasize interviewing skills, since that seems to be the student's main weakness," said Rich Brown, TAP instructor.

Workshop attendees learn to conduct job searches, career decision-making, current occupational and labor market conditions, and resume and cover letter preparation. Participants also are provided with an evaluation of their employability relative to the job market and receive information on the most current veterans' benefits.

"I've learned a lot about taking advantage of my VA benefits and writing resumes," said Dental Technician 3rd Class Melvin Jones, a TAP student.

Service members leaving the military with a service-connected disability are offered the Disabled Transition Assistance Program. This program includes the normal five-day TAP workshop, plus additional hours of individual instruction to help determine job readiness and address the special needs of disabled veterans.

Although experience shows that veterans generally enjoy a favorable employment rate in the nation's job market, many veterans initially find it difficult to compete successfully in today's labor market. The TAP program addresses many barriers to success and alleviates many employment related difficulties.

For more information on TAP classes at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, call the Fleet and Family Service Center at (904)542-2766.

For related news, visit the Naval Air Station Jacksonville Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/nasjax.

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