ACAP, a boost to Soldiers taking the next step
November 4, 2011
For many Soldiers, finding a job after spending years in the military is a prospect that can be very daunting. However, what a lot of these Soldiers do not realize is that it is not a prospect they have to face alone. The Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) was created with the sole purpose of assisting Soldiers in transitioning smoothly back into civilian life after they have made the decision to get out of the Army.
"Soldiers have all of the attributes that employers are willing to fight over," said Christ.
Christ explained that many Soldiers just need help marketing themselves, and that's where ACAP comes in.
"We help Soldiers, one on one, to write a resume," she said.
The sooner a Soldier can get started writing a resume, the better, said Christ, even if that Soldier is planning on going back to school. She explained that it is important for every Soldier to write a resume and get assistance translating their military experience into civilian terms while it is fresh in their minds and while the assistance is there.
But writing resumes is not the only service that ACAP provides, especially on Fort Hood. Other services ACAP provides include, but are not limited to: business classes and seminars, advanced resume writing classes for both civilian and government work, "dress for success" classes, career counseling and research, interviewing techniques classes, mock interviews, information on continuing education and job fairs.
Christ said the job fairs, set up by Fort Hood ACAP, are legendary across the department of defense and were started by Bob Oakes, who manages the Fort Hood ACAP center.
Oakes explained that the first job fair housed only 25 employers but catered to a crowd of about 500 job seekers, which was much more than expected.
"Within a year it expanded up to 140 to 150 employers and about 2000 job seekers," Oakes said. "The smallest job fairs we have now have around 2400 job seekers."
Oakes also said that due to the lack of man power and the sheer size of the job fair venues, they are limited to twice a year, but that hasn't stopped them from increasing in popularity. Employers, he said, find Fort Hood to be a rich area to find talented individuals seeking employment.
"A lot of times, on the day of the job fair itself, employers will be so ecstatic about the piles of resumes and people they've met that they'll run down to us and fill out the registration form for the next job fair, six months ahead," Oakes said. "Once we reach the 155 table limit, we have to go to a waiting list. There's no more room for tables after that."
Ultimately, with everything it has to offer, ACAP is something Soldiers should think about taking advantage of, Christ said.
"Between 400 and 600 Soldiers leave the Army out of Fort Hood every month," Christ said. "And ACAP is absolutely important and necessary."
Seeking employment is a slow process, sometimes it can take up to six months to hear from an employer, Christ said.
"The important thing is for people to look for work when they have money coming in to live on," she said. "Maybe we can avoid someone having to move back in with their parents."