Editor's Note: This is the first story in a four-part series about ACAP and what the program has to offer Fort Riley Soldiers and Families in transition.
The Army Career and Alumni Program underwent some changes beginning last November. The new and improved program now caters to the specific goals of Soldiers.
"ACAP is no longer a one-size-fits-all program – that was the old program. In the new program, we have developed all of these avenues so that Soldiers can pick and choose what they want to do," said Glennwood McLaurin, transition service manager, ACAP, Directorate of Human Resources.
ACAP offers briefs and workshops to assist with the transition of Soldiers to civilian life.
"Our goal is to assist Soldiers and their Families in their transition and make it as smooth as possible for them as they get ready to leave the military – helping them find jobs, teaching them how to prepare for civilian life after the military," he said.
The program isn't solely for Soldiers, although it is a requirement in the separation process, McLaurin said, adding that a Family member of a Soldier who is separating from the Army may attend ACAP briefs and utilize services as well.
ACAP now offers four different components in the individual transition plan Soldiers can select: Employment, educational, vocational and entrepreneur. There also are other components that are mandatory and universal to all Soldiers separating from the Army.
For example, everyone must attend a briefing about benefits, how to utilize Veterans Affairs and must create a yearlong budget to be used after the separation takes place.
The educational and vocational tracks will be introduced at Fort Riley in October, he said, and the employment and entrepreneur tracks are already in place.
Soldiers are assigned ACAP counselors to help them decide which avenue best fits their goals, McLaurin said. There aren't restrictions on how many tracks to explore, he said, and Soldiers may check out more than one avenue if they would like.
Soldiers preparing to leave the Army are required to start the ACAP process 12 months prior to leaving, McLaurin said, adding they don't have to wait until that point though. Any Soldier at any time can choose to come into the ACAP office to explore options.
"A Soldier can come to just a portion of the program. It can be a way of testing the waters to a certain extent; a way to see what's out there," he said. "That can be useful when, perhaps, a Soldier is debating re-enlistment or getting out of the Army."
Going through ACAP or a portion of the program does not mean that a Soldier must separate from the Army, he said.
"We do have some Soldiers that come through the program and decide they want to stay in the Army," McLaurin said.
For more information or to utilize ACAP before the 12-month window from separation, visit the ACAP office, 212 Custer Ave.; call 785-239-2278; or visit www.acap.army.mil.