WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 15, 2007) -- The launch of the Army Career Alumni Program Express, Feb. 28, will give Soldiers, their Families and Civilians a jump start on new careers as they retire or separate from the Army.

For example, the new online program will allow Soldiers, who are on deployment or living in remote locations, to begin planning for their future careers earlier than normal. Before ACAP Express, Soldiers had to come to an ACAP Center to receive services they will now be able to obtain online.

The new program will be as simple to use as scheduling an airline reservation online, according to James Hoffman, ACAP director.

Any Soldier on active duty, having at least 180 days of continuous active service, and separating within one year or retiring within two years, is eligible for the services.

Once approved and enrolled in the program, the planning begins. ACAP Express will allow a person to schedule attendance at events, access job assistance training tutorials, access an automated resume and cover-letter writer, and access ACAP counselors. Tutorials on job-search topics will also be available.

"Around 63,000 Soldiers come through the ACAP program annually," Hoffman said. "Soldiers are interested; they want to be successful, and our program will help them do that."

ACAP meets congressional mandates by offering pre-separation counseling and employment-assistance training.

ACAP Express allows Soldiers the ability to register and schedule services, but Hoffman reminded that ACAP centers at installations are still available. Soldiers deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan can also receive support from ACAP Centers via phone and e-mail, Hoffman said.

Family members and Army Civilians are also encouraged to use ACAP Express. Once a Soldier retires or separates from the military, spouses sometimes find they have put their own careers on hold, and this is their opportunity to gain knowledge on how to enter the workforce, Hoffman said.

The ACAP Express program will undergo a 12-month pilot test to determine how to best meet the expectations of Soldiers, Hoffman said. He explained that users will critique the program and feedback will be reviewed in order to make the system even better and more functional.