By Karl Weisel, USAG Wiesbaden Public AffairsMarch 25, 2008
Add Text HereWIESBADEN, Germany - After serving one's country in the military, returning to civilian life can be challenging.
For example, the time involved in researching potential careers, deciding how to write a first-rate resume and learning how to sell one's self during the interview process are skills that might not come naturally to many people.
But a new program offered by the Army Career and Alumni Program, called ACAP Express, now provides Soldiers with an online portal for starting the transition process and whatever ongoing assistance that is needed.
Launched Feb. 28, ACAP Express "is available 24/7," said Daniel Strong, of the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden ACAP office. "(Previously) you had to either come by the ACAP office or call for assistance."
Not only can Soldiers access ACAP Express at any time, they can also use the online assistance from anywhere they may be stationed - be that Italy or Iraq. "Before, to use tools like resume writer, they had to come into the office," said Strong. "Now they can use it online through ACAP Express.
"That's what we're all about: pointing the way to the proper resources and people who can help them," said Strong, explaining that ACAP staff members provide Transition Assistance Program classes, one-on-one counseling, veteran benefits classes, job search assistance and other such tools.
"We help you help yourself. We're also a conduit to other transition assistance service providers," he said.
"All of our staff members are certified career counselors," added Rebecca Morris, ACAP contractor installation manager for the Baumholder, Wiesbaden, Kaiserslautern and Hanau communities.
"ACAP is a process that Soldiers have earned whether they've served their country for three or 30 years, Morris said. "We want to help make a smooth transition, whether it's with VA benefits, job search and writing resumes, education exploration or just a referral to another agency."
With many Wiesbaden 1st Armored Division Soldiers already serving in Iraq and more scheduled to deploy from Baumholder soon, having online access to transition assistance via ACAP Express is more important than ever, said Morris. "The great thing about ACAP Express is that these guys can take it with them when they deploy. In the cyber world that's about as close as you can get to a personal experience."
Soldiers can start using ACAP's services a year in advance of leaving the military.
"Retirees can start two years out," said Strong, explaining that the legal requirement is to begin at least 90 days before an Expiration Term of Service. "You really need to get your ducks in a row beforehand - especially something so important as this, which will affect your life in the future."
Soldiers may be surprised at how many different skills and experiences they have accumulated while serving, said Strong. "They should really think about what choice of career they want. Because the military requires you to do so many different things, it's important to consider many options.
"A good example," he pointed out, "would be a Soldier who is involved in training, or someone in transportation (who ensures) people get to where they should be logistically; those are useful skills." And they can be easily marketed in the civilian world.
"All Soldiers deserve the best possible start in the civilian world when the time comes to leave the Army, and ACAP provides the knowledge and skills to smooth the way," said Maj. Gen. Sean J. Byrne, commander of the Army's Human Resources Command, in a message promoting the launch of ACAP Express. "There is no better recruiting influence in the community than a retiree or veteran whose Army experience includes being treated with respect and being supported even after making a decision to transition to civilian life."
Information and access to ACAP Express is also available at https://www. acapexpress.army.mil.