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ACAP making changes to TAP

By Calun Reece | DHR.ACAP | August 16, 2012

The Army Career and Alumni Program is making some changes to its Transition Assistance Program. The new updates are scheduled to begin Nov. 1 at Fort Riley.

The purpose of TAP is to provide job assistance workshops, counseling and resources to help Soldiers find jobs in the civilian work field.

The changes are meant to improve the program and better assist Soldiers who are transitioning or thinking about leaving the military, said Glennwood McLaurin, transition service manager, Department of Human Resources.

A pilot of the new TAP program is being conducted at Fort Sill, Okla., McLaurin said.

The new TAP program will be expanded to five days, whereas the current TAP program is three days.

Three modules also will be incorporated into the new TAP program, including an Individual Transition Plan; Military Occupational Code; and financial planning.

The Individual Transition Plan is tailored to meet the needs of each individual Soldier. Soldiers determine what their goals are and what kind of training they need to accomplish these goals. This plan is completed on the first day, after the initial online briefing of benefits. The Soldier then discusses the plan with an ACAP counselor to determine the next steps.

The second module is a financial planning seminar, which is meant to assist Soldiers in learning how to be financially prepared when transitioning back into civilian life. The seminar will be conducted during one of the TAP workshops.

The Military Occupational Code, also known as "crosswalk," is the third new module. The module will show how military-related skills can translate into civilian-type skills. The seminar also will be part of the TAP workshops.

"These military skills and experience can translate into civilian jobs, and we show them how," McLaurin said.

Additionally, Soldiers will have the option to participate in several types of additional training, including the Educational Track; Technical Training Track and the Small Business Track.

The Educational Track is for Soldiers interested in going back to school to earn a college degree. The track will equip the Soldier with the tools necessary to apply for colleges and select schools, as well as ensure they have all the resources they need, McLaurin said.

The Technical Training Track is for those interested in going into a technical field, and the Small Business Track is available for those wanting to learn how to start their own business.

New restrictions also are being enforced with the new TAP program, McLaurin said, adding that all Soldiers will be mandated to attend the new TAP program with few exceptions.

One exception is for Soldiers with 20 or more years of service, who have the option to attend the ACAP program, but are not required.

"There are other exceptions, but this is one of the main ones," McLaurin said.

Soldiers transitioning out of the Army must attend the TAP program no later than 12 months of the separation date. Those retiring from the military, however, can start the TAP program two years prior to separation date.

"I think it's going to really benefit them because they are going to receive a lot more training that's tailored more to their needs, not one shoe fits everybody," McLaurin said. "And, after all else, if you decide that maybe the military is your best option to stay in, then we're going to give you information on that, too."

For more information about TAP, call the ACAP center at 785-239-2278 or visit www.ACAP.army.mil.

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