(AFNS)— A new roadmap to help ease Airmen into civilian life is in full swing, providing assistance that will help those separating be as competitive in the civilian world as they are in the military, according to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs.
The new program is mandatory versus optional and extends classes from three days to five. The new program provides pre-separation counseling, along with a military-to-civilian skills review, a Veterans Affairs benefits briefing, financial planning support, sessions to help develop job search skills and individual transition plan preparation.
“I believe it will be very helpful for me to understand the benefits of the VA and what is required to transition to civilian life,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Nequette, a training NCOIC for Air National Guard Security Forces at Joint Base Andrews, Md. “I also think it will be beneficial to understand what it takes to transition military verbiage to civilian language.”
Shortly after the president’s directive to strengthen the military’s transition assistance program, Susan S. Kelly was named a special advisor to the Department of Defense, responsible for bringing together such agencies as DOD, VA, the Department of Labor, the Small Business Administration, the Education Department and the Office of Personnel Management to strengthen and revitalize the program. She said it was the responsibility of this task force to put together a curriculum that would maximize benefits to service members.
According to Kelly, the extended program takes service members through job searches using the latest technology, highlights skills that are in demand in the private sector, identify where the best opportunities exist and help determine whether moving is a consideration.
Kelly explained that, during the course of the week, small groups will develop an individual transition plan that covers such things as financial planning, and how to put together a budget that covers their first 12 months following separation. The course also covers how to write a résumé, how to interview for a job, along with how to translate military skills into the civilian work force.
Sitting in on one of the early sessions at Joint Base Andrews, the Air Force District of Washington commander, Maj. Gen. Sharon K.G. Dunbar, told the class there that the newly restructured transition workshop is a great opportunity for Airmen to prepare themselves beyond Air Force service.
“When you take the time to reflect on all you’ve done and accomplished since you’ve come into the Air Force, it’s rather incredible,” said Dunbar. “Very few people have the richness in experience that you do. Few have lived and worked in different regions of the country and the world and understand cultural differences like you do. Whether you’ve served your initial commitment, a portion of a career, or full career in our Air Force, this course will help you best convey the accumulation of your unique experience”.