As the military draws down and Soldiers prepare to transition out, timely preparation for the Civilian lifestyle is crucial for a smooth and effective process — and the Fort Huachuca Army Career and Alumni Program, or ACAP, is ready to assist.
ACAP is designed to provide transition assistance services to Soldiers and their Family members who are approaching their estimated time-of-separation date, or ETS, in order to prepare them for a successful transition back into the Civilian community.
It is recommended that service members begin the ACAP assisted transition process up to two years (for retirees) or one year (for those not retiring) prior to military separation. The first step is a pre-separation counseling session which can be completed by scheduling an appointment with an ACAP counselor or via the ACAP website, www.acap.army.mil. Service members will then receive a DD Form 2648 acknowledging receipt of the counseling.
Roger Shepard, chief, Fort Huachuca ACAP, stressed the importance of initiating the process early. “Soldiers must get started within no less than one year of their ETS date,” he said. “Even if they plan to reenlist, things can change.”
In accordance with the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011, service members must attend a five-day workshop made up of transition-related courses covering resume building, education goals, financial preparation, benefits and job-searching skills. Throughout the workshop, ACAP counselors are available to answer questions and clarify presented information.
The first day includes an overview of the transition process to Civilian life, a Military Occupational Specialty Crosswalk that matches military jobs to Civilian occupations, and a Veterans Affairs, or VA, benefits briefing to become aware of what is offered by the VA.
Days two through four are dedicated to a Department of Labor Workshop in which attendees will build a resume, become familiar with job search tools and practice interview techniques.
On day five, a Financial Planning Seminar will be presented so Soldiers can prepare a one-year budget following separation, a VA Benefits signup briefing and a VA Disability Claims session.
Reservations are required in order to attend the workshop, and the pre-separation counseling must be completed. Call the ACAP office, 533.5764, to schedule.
At 90 days prior to separation, a capstone event will be held to ensure everything that needs to be done is finished.
ACAP services offered to service members are offered to spouses and adult Family members as well. This will benefit Family members whose spouses are deployed during the months prior to their ETS. With ACAP’s assistance, spouses and Family members can search for jobs, prepare resumes, research benefits and prepare a budget, all while the military member is deployed.
Additional follow-up services offered during the separation process include career counseling, resume and cover letter assistance and reviews, interview preparation, job fair preparation and more.
Once service members are separated from the military, they have access to ACAP services for six additional months. Retirees will maintain ACAP services for life.
As stated on the ACAP website, “When alumni are successful, they serve as powerful examples of what Army service can do for a young man or woman’s future. Those who are capable of translating Army skills, training and experience into rewarding careers are living billboards promoting the Army as a great place to start.”
The Fort Huachuca ACAP office is located in Building 22420, Butler Road. Business hours are Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. On Thursdays the office is closed from noon – 1 p.m. for training. For more information, call 533.5764 or visit www.acap.army.mil.