By Andrew SharbelFebruary 26, 2010
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- For many Soldiers, family members, retirees, and Department of the Army civilians, separating from job in the military to a job in the civilian sector can be a difficult and trying process.
The Army Career and Alumni Program is designed to take some of the pressure off of that transition by providing preparation and job advice to those who need it.
"ACAP is a transition service and we provide transitioning Soldiers and their family members with the tools necessary to market themselves in the civilian workforce," said Vernita Pryor-Holifield, the transition service manager at Fort Belvoir's ACAP office.
"In addition, it is mandated by Congress that all members of the armed forces must complete a pre-separation counseling checklist.
"This checklist briefs the Soldiers on benefits they are entitled to and they can only get that done at an ACAP office," she said.
At Belvoir, ACAP guides its customers through the entire job-search process, from job searches to resume help, interviewing tips and salary negotiations.
The program also offers various informational courses on transitioning from the Army. Course and seminars provided include a Transition Assistance Program Workshop, Veterans Affairs Benefits, resume workshops, financial planning, Post 9/11 GI Bill workshops, and much more.
The financial planning and Post 9/11 G.I. Bill workshops are the newest programs to become part of the ACAP lecture series.
Holifield noted some people think ACAP helps people find jobs in the civilian workforce, a thought that is not entirely correct. She said although there are some instances in which the ACAP staff plays a large role in helping a client find a job, it is not their primary mission.
"Our mission is to teach our customers job search skills," Holifield said. "What we find is most Soldiers will not stay at the first job they receive upon separation. The skills we teach show them how to interview, how to prepare their resumes or how to negotiate their salary, so no matter where they go and what they do they can be successful.
Command Sgt. Maj. Freddie Brock, U.S. Army provost sergeant major, said ACAP is beyond helpful to those customers who use it.
"I have spoken with numerous other sergeants major and no other program out there to help prepare us for life out of the military," Brock said.
Holifield said transitioning Soldiers should take full advantage of the program.
"This program gives those who use it options to continue their future in whatever they see fit. It is really educational to learn the process and learn what your options are prior to separating," Holifield said.
For more information, visit the ACAP office at Barden Education Center in Room 158 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, call 703- 805-9263, or go online at acap.army.mil.