Fort Riley Transition Assistance Program partners with KEEP initiative

By Thomas ReustApril 20, 2023

Fort Riley TAP and the KEEP program
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – TOPEKA, US- Soldiers, family members, and KEEP tour organizers start a tour of the Boys and Girls Club of Topeka on April 18. (Photo Credit: Thomas Reust) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Riley TAP KEEP tour visits Frito Lay facility
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – TOPEKA, KS- Soldiers, family members, and TAP personnel tour the Topeka Frito Lay facility on April 17. (Photo Credit: Thomas Reust) VIEW ORIGINAL

April 18, a line of vehicles was filled with 25 transitioning Soldiers and their families on the way to the state capital. The mission? Learning about educational and occupational opportunities in Topeka available to military connected families as they near a key decision in transitioning into the civilian sector.

The day was part of a tour put on by the Kansas Employment Exploration Program or KEEP, facilitated by the Fort Riley Transition Assistance Program. The day included visits to Washburn Institute of Technology, The Boys and Girls Club of Topeka, Frito Lay, and culminated in a panel with several employers from the area.

Sergeant Dakota Hoffman, from 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, said he appreciated the opportunity, “I think Topeka is a very promising area that is seeing a lot of growth. I got to see several employers that I might not have found with a simple internet search, and that widened my perspective of the area.”

At the Washburn Institute of Technology, the participants saw several occupational training programs ranging from specialized medical training to cybersecurity. The training was one of the highlights that the Fort Riley Transition Assistance program is incorporating into their opportunities for transitioning military families.

Debra Shelkey, the Fort Riley Transition Service Manager, wants to get the word out that the KEEP initiative is one of the robust programs that is offered by her office. “We go all around the state looking at different communities to see what they have to offer, and it’s not only jobs. Today we heard about parks, recreation facilities, and childcare as well. That helps create a better picture of what kind of support is out in the civilian world that is offered by these communities. With this program we learn about things we didn’t even know about, and many of us have been in the state a long time.”

TAP also works closely with KANSASWORKS which supported the Topeka tour. Andrew Dailey, KANSAS WORKS Veteran Employment Representative, sat down and gave his perspective on the value of having a strong program like TAP for those taking the leap into the civilian lifestyle. “Being a veteran myself of over 25 years, I get to connect with these people as they begin their journey and are deciding the best path forward for them and their families. Take advantage of great programs like TAP because it can make all the difference.”

According to transition assistance personnel, KEEP is a Fort Riley Transition Assistance Program (TAP) initiative designed to encourage transitioning Service Members to settle down and remain in Kansas after completing their military service. Attendees receive community tours and are introduced to employers and city leaders to discuss job opportunities, salaries, and the quality-of-life options available to them in the community. So far this year, the team has visited Manhattan and Topeka, and have scheduled trips to Lawrence and Wichita. All tours are provided at no cost to participants. To learn more about this program visit pr call 785-239-2278 or 785-239-9909.