Helping separating or retiring service members get a leg up on their civilian life is a mission worth doing in the best way possible. Those charged with providing that help in Miami are leveraging some tremendous assets they have at their disposal.

For those in South Florida planning to retire or leave the military, the Pre-Separation/ Transition Assistance Program expanded its workshop to four days, said Joe Pagan, U.S. Army Garrison - Miami Employment Readiness Program Manager. The next workshop is scheduled for May 18 through 21.

Aca,!A"There is a national Memorandum of Understanding which is the driver for the Transition Assistance Program,Aca,!A? Pagan said. Aca,!A"It includes the Departments of Defense, Labor, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. I am just the fulfiller of that requirement.Aca,!A?

The program provides comprehensive information on transition assistance benefits and services for service members Aca,!" and their spouses Aca,!" who are separating or retiring from active duty within 180 days.

The workshop will help ensure that separating or retiring service members are better prepared to compete for positions in the private sector after leaving the service.

Key to the success of the program, Pagan said, is the subject matter experts from DoD, DoL and VA. Together they provide information on personal appraisal, career exploration, strategies for an effective job search and job resources. Once the service member finds their next calling, the workshops on successful interviews, resumes, reviewing job offers, networking and federal government employment will help get them employed.

Aca,!A"It is critical because it adds better understanding to the service member to formulate a plan for transition,Aca,!A? Pagan said.

Aca,!A"Not only that, it will help you understand all your rights and entitlements,Aca,!A? he said.
Key among these are VA medical coverage; veteransAca,!a,,c rehabilitation and education; home loan guarantee certificates, and burial rights.

Aca,!A"I also bring in an education officer who explains the new GI bill Aca,!" which will take effect August 1.Aca,!A?

The best advice comes from those who have made the transition before. Pagan has received cooperation from private company representatives who explain, from a civilian company human resources perspective, what is expected of a potential employee.

Aca,!A"These employers, private and public, some prior military, share their experiences of success, which are very pertinent to those in transition,Aca,!A? he said.

Aca,!A"An important item for those transitioning is to understand their medical benefits,Aca,!A? Pagan said. Aca,!A"Timing is very critical on that.Aca,!A? Tri-Care participates by sending a representative to cover the registration process.

USAG Aca,!" Miami is unique in Florida as an Army installation providing transition assistance for all the armed forces.

Aca,!A"The information and services that I deliver are the same,Aca,!A? he said. The exceptions come from each service having its own personnel office Aca,!" which might have its own requirements for transition.

For those who want to attend, Aca,!A"preparation well in advance of workshop attendance is critical to success,Aca,!A? Pagan said.

All attendees will need to submit a copy of their civilian resumeAca,!a,,c one to two weeks before the program, this will provide the professional resume writer sufficient time to process their resumes for the mock interview workshop.

The next Pre-Separation/TAP Workshop will be held May 18 through 21 at the Federal Aviation Administration, 8600 NW 36th Street, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Doral, FL 33166. Again, attendees must provide a copy of their civilian resume at least one to two weeks prior to attending the workshop. Military spouses are cordially invited to attend. As a matter of policy, former service members may attend the Pre-Separation/TAP Workshops on a space available basis.

For more information or to register, call Joe Pagan, Garrison Employment Readiness Program Manager at (305) 437-2665/2639, or by E-mail: joe.pagan@hq.southcom.mil.