JBSA transition program leads charge, offers soldiers personalized experience
September 10, 2013
SAN ANTONIO -- As U.S. Army Installation Management Command implements the final phase of the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act, Joint Base San Antonio is ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline, good news for soldiers according to Army Career and Alumni Program staff.
"With the final phase fully implemented, Joint Base San Antonio currently offers the most complete Army Career and Alumni Program available," said Randy Norman, contract installation manager for ACAP here. "This critical final phase of the Army's transition program includes Goals, Planning and Success Tracks and Capstone which set participants up for a successful future, Norman said.
"We're trying to service a broad audience," he explained, "We have all the services represented -- wounded Marines, Army doctors -- all with different (transition) needs. I hate to take that surgeon who could be out saving somebody's life and make him sit in a class that he doesn't need. We're trying to offer something for everyone -- online training, virtual experiences and these different tracks. There's lots and lots of versatility that's come into the program that makes it for everyone."
For soldiers, this means personalized transition based on their future goals. Three distinct GPS Tracks allow participants to prepare for small business ownership, vocational training/higher education or segue to the civilian workforce, IMCOM organizers explained.
Sgt. 1st Class Eric Rodriguez is preparing for retirement in November and believes the GPS Tracks are an invaluable tool.
"I went through ACAP in 2006, anticipating retirement at 20 years," Rodriguez recalled. "I changed my mind and continued to serve longer. Today's ACAP is night and day, compared to the first visit I made. This is something long overdue. I've gone to every class and used every tool available," he said. "I only wish that guys who retired or got out before now could get this, especially when I see a homeless vet."
The Capstone portion of transition is focused individual assessment to identify confidence and preparedness for transition, according to Norman.
"The Capstone requirement serves to mitigate risks like unemployment, financial hardship, social service issues, and homelessness, that underprepared service members face after transition," Norman said.
Another key part of the Capstone phase is reporting.
"Because results and appointments are shared with leaders, commanders have a dashboard to monitor transitioning soldiers' progress through the entire program," Laticia Anderson, ACAP liaison at JBSA said.
Rodriguez, as a first sergeant serving in the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment at Fort Campbell, said that reports send a strong message about importance.
"Prior to out-processing, I started to receive reports on my Soldiers' progress in ACAP," Rodriguez said. "It was an invaluable tool for me -- keeping track of everyone's appointments and seeing who was taking it seriously. I think it emphasizes just how important this transition program really is, and should be, to any Soldier getting out whether it's at two years or 22 years."
Joint Base San Antonio leaders are also receptive to the changes according to Anderson.
"Eighty-five commanders and 121 units here are now receiving reports here," Anderson said. "This is a very important program to soldiers and commander involvement helps emphasize that. For example, commanders can see if soldiers are delinquent during their out process through the transition report and they really seem to appreciate the information," Anderson added.
Other transition program enhancements include the military life cycle, which goes into effect Oct. 1, 2014 and synchronizes the Army Career Tracker with transition training. According to planners, this means that in the future, soldiers will use ACT to reach out to transition counselors.
U.S. Army IMCOM is the executor of new policy established by U.S. Army Human Resources Command, rooted in the VOW Act, which was passed in 2011. The ultimate goal says Norman is "…to ensure that we are properly preparing soldiers for transition, minimizing their stress and maximizing their opportunity to succeed."
About the U.S. Army Installation Management Command:
IMCOM handles the day-to-day operations of U.S. Army installations around the globe -- We are the Army's Home. Army installations are communities that provide many of the same types of services expected from any small city. Fire, police, housing, and child-care are just some of the things IMCOM does in Army communities every day. Our professional workforce strives to deliver on the commitments of the Army Family Covenant, honor the sacrifices of military Families, and enable the Army Force Generation cycle.
Our vision: Ready & Resilient Army: Provide Soldiers, Families and Civilians with a quality of life commensurate with the quality of their service.
Our mission: IMCOM will synchronize, integrate, and deliver installation services and sustain facilities in support of Senior Commanders in order to enable a ready and resilient Army.
To learn more about IMCOM: