Army to pilot new Soldier transition resources, processes
May 29, 2012
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 29, 2012) -- The Army will begin piloting in mid-July components of what constitutes a major overhaul of how the Army transitions Soldiers from military to civilian life.
Most of the core transition curriculum has either been modified or is brand new, said the Army Career Alumni Program director.
Walter Herd was one of more than 30 representatives from across the federal government who participated in a Pentagon Transition Summit last week hosted by Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Lloyd Austin. Participants met to address collective progress and remaining tasks in the Army's ongoing efforts to meet full compliance with the Veteran's Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 by the November 2012 suspense.
"Our purpose here these two days is to really sit down at the table and work together; to collaborate and learn about each other's efforts; to build bridges; and to make sure we're doing the very best for our Soldiers and their families," said Austin.
"We want to make sure we put all of our elements on the table, make sure our Soldiers are aware of what they can/should do. You are the experts in your various fields, and we believe we have the right folks in the room to do the right things," he said.
Among the many adjustments to the ACAP curriculum is an improved six-hour financial planning seminar that will be taught by certified financial counselors. Topics covered include 12-month financial planning, health care planning, health insurance, tax planning and preparation, credit ratings, home ownership and estate planning, said Herd.
The Department of Labor's Employment Workshop has also been modified based on feedback from students, facilitators and observers to better focus on the mechanics of Soldier transition, said John Moran, deputy undersecretary for Veterans Employment and Training Services.
"One of the major complaints we heard was that the DOL was putting way too much info in our course book that didn't have hands-on application. Our modified curriculum now places a greater emphasis on things like writing effective resumes and cover letters, using networking tools, preparing for interviews and evaluating job offers and salaries," he said.
The transition process doesn't stop the day the Soldier leaves the service, however, and the VA is working closely with the Army to ensure Soldiers take advantage of the many benefits available to them after separation.
The EBenefits site will play a significant role ensuring a warm handoff. The site sill soon send out reminders as users hit key milestones in their transition as to what things they should be doing at that point to prepare, said Veterans Administration Senior Advisor to the Secretary Jack Kammerer.
Not all components of the Transition overhaul will be felt Army-wide until later this year. Agencies both within and outside the Army are responsible for different aspects, and will be piloting those individual changes at different predetermined locations.
One of the adjustments to Soldier Transition processes that is already in place and available to all Soldiers today, however, is the Army's adoption of the Hero 2 Hired online employment application tool at www.H2H.jobs. The site offers users the opportunity to not only perform job searches and post resumes, but translate military skills, explore different career paths, and more.
In addition to the Army and Department of Labor, summit participants included representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense; the White House; the Department of Veterans Affairs; and the Department of Education. Briefings from each agency covered the full spectrum of resources and services tied to this ongoing effort.
"This is an interagency effort. You will see the fingerprint of all of these agencies in the planning and implementation process," said Susan Kelly, special advisor for the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program, known as TAP.
The changes being made are additive, built on the shoulders of the work already happening across the Army. Officials will be listening to Soldiers' feedback every step of the way to ensure the changes are exactly what Soldiers need, Kelly said.