Langley Air Force Base, Va. — The Air Force is providing separating and retiring Airmen with the revamped Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which is more comprehensive and standardized across the DoD.
The goal of TAP is to reduce veteran unemployment, which is at a rate of 12.5 percent; however, the unemployment rate for veterans under 24 years of age rises drastically to 32 percent.
“Our goal it is to help our members from the highest rank to the lowest,” said Anna Bennett, community readiness specialist at Langley AFB, Va. “All members receive identical information.”
Pre-separation counseling provides information on transition benefits and assists members and spouses with assessing individual needs, referrals to service providers and offers future career guidance.
Spouses are strongly encouraged to attend pre-separation counseling sessions.
“The Airmen realize that it is valuable information and an opportunity to network and senior leaders get to guide our younger members,” said Bennett.
Transition assistance is recommended two years out for retirees and separating Airmen should begin looking into these programs one year out.
“One challenge is making sure that we have time to give service members all of the information they need,” said Bennett. “Do this early and take advantage of the resources available. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”
“A common misconception is that you have to have orders to attend the class. But in reality, you just have to have it in your mind,” said Bennett.
The Airmen Family Readiness Center’s main goal for TAP is to help Service members’ transition successfully into civilian life. Individual transition plans are used to assist Service members identify a game plan.
“It can be scary to write a resume or recreate a budget,” said Bennett. “You first need to find a job and state how you are qualified for it. We are here to help show them that they have the skills required and that they are invaluable.”
Optional training for higher education, entrepreneurial and vocational training is also available along with extensive counseling to help Airmen develop a individual transition plan that will outline education, training and employment objectives.
“We want them to utilize those tools available to be successful,” said Bennett. “Airmen should know that we have programs like the employer’s panel and we have VA reps to help them with their medical records and education benefits.”
For Service members at geographically separated units, retiring or with a short-notice separation, a virtual curriculum has recently been made available.
“The Airmen Family Readiness Centers are relevant,” said Bennett. “We truly care.”