Soldiers exiting the military can use that experience gained to find a job.

Pvt. Fred Reed said the skills from his MOS, 15J, electrical and electronic avionic work on aircraft, directly translate to a civilian career.

"This new career path may require the Soldier to continue (or) complete his (or) her education or certification prior to or immediately after separation," he said.

Reed said he learned how his skills could translate to a civilian career when he attended three-day Transition Assistance Program workshops in April and December.

"Soldiers should view their military skills as a wealth of knowledge gained during service and the more time they served, the more knowledge they gained," said Eddie Perez, transition services manager for Fort Benning's Army Career and Alumni Program.

ACAP counselors are trained to assist Soldiers in identifying strengths and challenges based on the new career path they intend on seeking, he said.

"I applied to a job in September and when I took my second TAP class in December, (the teacher) mentioned following up with employers," he said.

Heeding his teacher's advice, Reed said he was contacted by the employer for a phone interview within three days.

"I used the teachings in the class to prepare for the phone interviews," Reed said. "Ultimately, the phone interview went good and they asked me to do a face-to-face interview. I went from searching for jobs for months, to having contact with four, maybe five, employers."

He said he learned a lot about programs and benefits at the TAP workshops that he wouldn't have known about if he hadn't attended.

"You have to give it a chance. If you go to the classes and you have a negative attitude, you're going to get a negative outcome," he said.

Workshops and counselors can help Soldiers figure out their career or educational paths, Reed said.
"The classes work but you have to make them work for you," he said. "Put forth the effort to take control your future. Nothing is easy. If you set aside the time to make things work for you, things will work for you."

Reed will take a test to qualify for the Federal Aviation Administration airframe certification, which will allow him to continue using his skills on aircraft.

Perez had his own success landing a job that used his military skills, he said.

"I was able to use all my skills, from personnel management to anti-terrorist force protection training," he said. "My first position upon retirement was with the Atlanta Southeast Region Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. I was hired as a management assistant, where I used my Army management skills and then I was tapped to develop a business recovery plan for the Southeast region, where I once again was able to use my Army skills in the development of a disaster recovery plan."

One tool that can help Soldiers track their training is the Verification of Military Experience and Training website.

"If properly documented, this form will provide the Soldier a chronological tracking of all his or her training and its related civilian occupation for that particular training," Perez said.

For more information about ACAP or the VMET, call 706-545-2308.

ACAP eligibility:

» Active-duty Soldiers who have at least 180 days of active-duty service or 12 months prior to normal separation

» Soldiers who receive notice of involuntary separation

» Soldiers who receive referral to the Medical Evaluation Board

» Department of the Army civilians upon notification of Reduction in Force.