ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Separating from the military and entering the civilian job market can be an intimidating task for even the best prepared Soldiers. Add to that the limitations imposed on Wounded Warriors, and it can be even more daunting.

Due to numerous Department of Defense and state initiatives, however, obtaining employment with the U.S. government is leveled for veterans who understand the process. In addition, Aberdeen Proving Ground organizations like Army Community Service (ACS), the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) and the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) within the Military Personnel Office (MILPO), provide information and assistance to veterans learning the hiring process.

Government hiring information is presented to separating Soldiers during the transition period and is easily accessible online for everyone.

For separating Soldiers on Aberdeen Proving Ground, the job hunt starts with the TAP which includes counseling by Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) professionals.

Transition timeline

Thomas Shumate, chief of the APG Garrison's Military Personnel Office which includes the Military Transition Assistance Program, said retiring Soldiers start transitioning 24 months prior to separation while those who are being separated or discharged transition no later than 12 months prior.

He said the ACAP provides basic information on VA benefits, educational overviews, small business and financial workshops and more and that additional education certification opportunities through ACAP will be offered this September and October. Though the opportunities in this area have yet to be named, Shumate said similar VA programs up and running at other installations include welding, steelworker and Information Technology (IT) certifications.

Full advantage

"Soldiers can help themselves by taking advantage of all the resources available to them, even if they think they don't need them," Shumate said, adding that the office has processed 123 Soldiers since January; including retirees and voluntary and involuntary separations.

The ACAP mobile team offers a monthly Tuesday-Thursday workshop the second week of each month. Additionally, the Maryland Department of Labor, which focuses on state and private industry jobs, briefs Tuesday-Thursday the last week of each month. These sessions are held within the Garrison Training Transition Assistance Center, Bldg. 3147, or in classrooms in Bldg. 4305.

"Retirees are not required to go through the DOL course but we highly recommend it based on its resources," Shumate said.

The Transition Assistance Center, located on the first floor of Bldg. 4305, includes a computer center where job seekers can research local, state and federal jobs, resumes, networking, and the interview process. It also supports job fairs and other hiring events, many of which are held in upstairs classrooms.

Hiring events

"There are companies in need of employees. We've had two direct hiring events this year and several have walked out with jobs," Shumate said.

"Soldiers really need to understand the transition periods," he added. "ACS partnered within the CPAC is available to brief transitioning Soldiers on the federal hiring process and opportunities available within the federal government. ACS and its Employee Assistance Program headed by Marilyn Howard is a part of our briefings as well as the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center briefing on the federal process and opportunities given by Joe Weiss.

"The information and resources are in place. We want to see you hired. That's our goal."

Employment Readiness Program

Marilyn Howard of Army Community Service is the Employment Readiness Program manager. She encourages Soldiers, spouses and Family members to let the ERP help with their job search.

"The ACS Employment Readiness Program can also assist Family members who are relocating due to a military or civilian sponsor's permanent change of station by providing information and other services to minimize employment problems associated with such moves," Howard said.

Howard works closely with the Susquehanna Workforce and other local and state hiring services and employers to present biannual job fairs and other hiring events throughout the year. ERP services, which include classes and use of the ERP computer lab, also are open to separating service members, veterans and military retirees.

For more information about ERP services and resources, contact Howard at 410-278-9669/7572; e-mail marilyn.e.howard.civ@mail.mil or visit ACS in Bldg. 2503, Highpoint Road.

Veteran's Preference

The Veterans' Preference Act is a United States federal law passed in 1944. It required the federal government to favor returning war veterans when hiring new employees in an attempt to recognize their service, sacrifice, and skills. Veterans' Preference means that when agencies use a numerical rating and ranking system to determine the best qualified applicants for a position, an additional 5 or 10 points are added to the numerical score of qualified preference eligible veterans. Veterans' preference does not guarantee veterans a job.

Only veterans discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions are eligible for veterans' preference. A military retiree is not included in the definition of preference eligible unless they are a disabled veteran or retired below the rank of major or its equivalent.

There are basically two types of preference eligibles, disabled (10 point preference eligible) and non-disabled (5 point preference eligibles).

To receive preference, a veteran must have been discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions. A military retiree is not included in the definition of preference eligible unless they are a disabled veteran or retired below the rank of major or its equivalent.

CPAC Human Resources Supervisor Lisa McKinney and Lead Human Resources Specialist Salonge Gee said that understanding Veterans Preference is the key to realizing its impact on veteran hiring.

"One of the misconceptions regarding the hiring process is that Veterans' Preference guarantees the veteran a job," said Gee. "The veteran applicant, just like non-veteran applicants must meet the basic requirements for the position they are applying for as outlined by the Office of Personnel management (OPM)."

"And then, they have to compete with other highly-qualified candidates," said McKinney, adding that veteran applicant who are evaluated to be among the best qualified, then go to the top of the veterans category.

"That's where the preference comes in to play," she said.

Delegated Examining Authority

When considering, evaluating and referring candidates under the Delegated Examining authority, candidates are evaluated/rated against minimum qualification requirements as defined by OPM and placed into one of three predefined quality categories (Best-Highly-Qualified).

Selecting officials make selections from within the highest quality category regardless of the number of candidates in the category. However, veterans' preference eligibles are placed at the top of their category ahead of non-veterans. If a preference eligible is in the category, the selecting official may not select a non-preference eligible unless the selecting official requests to pass over the preference eligible and the request is approved. Veterans' preference eligibles with a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent are placed at the top of the Best Qualified category ("float") with the exception of professional and scientific positions at the GS-9 level or higher, where veterans are placed in their respective category based on their ranking/rating.

Veteran Recruitment Support Plan

The Civilian Human Resources Agency (CHRA) has implemented a Veteran Recruitment Support plan that prioritizes the delivery of HR transition assistance and outreach depending on the category of veteran. Veterans are prioritized by their disability rating and veterans' preference eligibility. The categories include Wounded Warriors, Veterans with 10 Point Preference and Transitioning and Retired Military.

Wounded Warrior Program

Wounded Warriors are Soldiers or veterans who have a disability that either resulted from injury or disease received in the line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict, or was caused by an instrumentality of war and was incurred in the line of duty during a period of war as defined in section 101(11) of title 38, U.S.C.

For more information, contact Gee at 410-306-0190, salonge.l.gee.civ@mail.mil; or McKinney at 410-278-1414, lisa.a.mckinney.civ@mail.mil.

Page last updated Thu August 8th, 2013 at 00:00