By Michael Bliss (Soldier For Life)January 23, 2013
Arlington, Va. (January 23, 2013) -- The U.S. Army's Soldier for Life initiative provides a holistic model to address the needs of Soldiers and Families as part of the military life cycle.
Soldier for Life efforts enable Soldiers, Veterans, and Families to leave military service "career ready", connected, and resourced with a network of mentors, employers, education opportunities and health care so they remain Army Strong serving their communities.
This resourcing is a key component to successful reintegration of transitioning Soldiers and Families into our civilian communities.
The Soldier for Life initiative and its connection to the U.S. Army's ongoing efforts to improve the Transition Assistance Program encourage Soldiers to take a planned and deliberate approach transition.
U.S. Army Reservist SSG Katie Ferencik of Henderson, NV, understands firsthand the importance of networking, mentorship and transition planning.
In a recent "VETNET HQs" Google+ Hangout session she spoke of her personal experience transitioning from both an active duty and deployment status.
The "VETNET HQ" is collaboration between veteran-focused NGOs using the social media platforms of Google+ and YouTube; it is designed to help Soldiers, Veterans and their Families find meaningful employment.
SSG Ferencik described during the Hangout session her key components to a successful transition:
1. Self reflection to decide on your post-service purpose: She said, "What career do I want to pursue?"
2. Assessment of potential career choices: SSG Ferencik stated, "I sought out advice from my network of mentors both internally and externally to the U.S. Army."
3. Focus on the employment search: After she determined a desired career path, she effectively focused her employment search to quickly obtain a job in just over a month.
While SSG Ferencik's physical job search was accomplished rather rapidly, she spent close to a year completing a deliberate reintegration process.
Her transition experience and successes validate the importance of the new changes to the Transition Assistance Program that mandates Soldiers begin the transition process at least one year prior to separation from active duty.
We salute SSG Ferencik as she embodies the Soldier for Life mindset and helps us sustain the All Volunteer Army.
She is an invaluable Soldier that started Army Strong, became Stronger through service, and reintegrated Strong.
She now remains Army Strong and is a "Soldier for Life" committed to instilling Army values, ethos, and leadership within her community.
SSG Ferencik has served in the U.S. Army for over 11 years, she's deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and she is currently employed as personnel specialist for a government agency.
Thank you, SSG Ferencik, for your service and continued service as a Soldier for Life!