With assistance and guidance from what is now called the Soldier for Life — Transition Assistance Program, SFLTAP, formerly known as the Army Career Alumni Program, ACAP, transitioning out of the Army was a smooth and successful process for a recently separated Soldier stationed at Fort Huachuca.
Just three weeks after he separated, former Spc. Arvie Ramos and his Family moved to Sacramento, California, where he began his new job as a human resource specialist with the Bureau of Land Management, June 9.
“ACAP (SFLTAP) put a lot of my fears aside,” Ramos said. “As a Soldier in the Army for eight years, I felt like it was going to be very hard for me to transition and ACAP (SFLTAP) actually made that process easier for me.”
SFLTAP is designed to provide transition assistance services to Soldiers and their Family members who are approaching their estimated time of separation, or ETS, date in order to prepare them for a successful transition back into the civilian community.
In October 2013, Ramos began preparing for his transition by working with local ACAP (SFLTAP) counselors, attending classes and using the various online resources ACAP (SFLTAP) provides.
“I took the regular five-day workshop at Fort Huachuca, and I took extra classes like the LinkedIn, Higher Education and Advanced Resume Writing classes. I kept coming back in and meeting with my counselor as well,” Ramos said.
According to Charles Sparks, a SFLTAP counselor here, SFLTAP presents Soldiers with a chance to learn or enhance his or her skills to prepare for the future as a civilian.
“Mr. Ramos has a great personality and loves to work with people,” Sparks said. “The first thing we did was help him target his resume for a job in the human resources area. Next, we got him to develop his interviewing skills by having him actually practice his interviewing skills with us one-on-one or two-on-one.
“Once he was told that he was going to have a phone interview, I went through that process with him two different times by researching online and coming up with the most current questions being asked by [human resource] types in interview sessions,” Sparks added.
“ACAP (SFLTAP) did a lot as far as educating me,” Ramos said. “If I hadn’t taken the ACAP (SFLTAP) courses, I would have been out here not knowing anything and I would have been left hanging.”
While the ACAP (SFLTAP) process is mandatory in accordance with the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011, Ramos explained that using the program was something that he “wanted” to do because of the benefits he and his Family would gain.
Ramos said the topics he found most helpful were learning how to search for federal jobs, the application process, interviewing techniques and resume writing.
“I would also say pay attention to the information about VA [Veteran’s Affairs] benefits,” Ramos said. “A lot of people just don’t know what their [VA] entitlements are. We definitely have a lot of benefits that we are entitled to.”
“I am married with kids and ACAP (SFLTAP) also gave me great advice about how to approach a job offer,” he added. “They told me ‘Don’t always jump in it for the money, always sit back and review the entire package’ and ‘See the benefits the job offers.’ They advised me how to find a good job instead of just going for the money.”
The tools SFLTAP offers are invaluable to helping Soldiers translate their military experiences into success after the Army — and Ramos is proof.
“On the first day my supervisors complimented me on how I came to work dressed,” Ramos said. “And I was like, ‘well for five days ACAP (SFLTAP) encourages us to dress business casual.’
“They were surprised that I am making such a smooth transition. The only thing that I am struggling with is the learning curve with the terminology in civilian HR from the Army’s HR.”
Looking back, Ramos said he gives all credit to the SFLTAP team at Fort Huachuca. For Soldiers leaving the Army, he said, “Take ACAP (SFLTAP) seriously and take every class that they have to offer. Don’t just check the box. It will actually help you succeed in the future.”