Making the transition from active service to the civilian sector can be a trying time for service members and their families, but you don't have to go it alone. Plenty of guidance and resources are available to you, and you have other service members to lend a hand as well, including leadership. To make the most of your transition experience, find out how your military leaders can help give you a leg up on your return to civilian life.
The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) supports the command and military mission in several ways:
- Assists recruiting efforts. TAP assists recruiting efforts by producing successful alumni who recommend and support military service.
- Decreases unemployment. TAP helps decrease unemployment compensation paid by the military. Every separating service member who meets the eligibility criteria is entitled by law to up to twenty-six weeks of unemployment compensation; TAP helps to prepare these service members for civilian employment following their service, reducing the need for military-funded unemployment compensation.
- Increases retention. Research supports that early participation in TAP workshops increases the probability of retention. After receiving realistic and accurate information on job searches, veterans benefits, etc., a larger percentage of service members chooses to remain on active duty.
How leadership can help service members
Military leaders help service members make a smooth transition by providing both information and support. Leaders can also ensure that service members have sufficient time off work to attend transition workshops and obtain counseling. As they prepare for transition, service members need an average of forty hours, spread over several months, to fully take advantage of services offered by the military.
It is command leadership's responsibility to ensure that service members have full access to transition services. Leaders should identify members who are eligible to retire or separate and see that they sign up for required counseling and workshops. Commands should also designate a command transition representative to monitor separation and retirement dates and status of personnel and refer service members for preseparation counseling and transition services.
Assistance for leaders with service members not located near an installation
If transition services are not available locally, service members still have other options, including the internet. The family support website for each Service branch provides transition information and related links. Military OneSource, an information and referral service provided at no cost to service members and their families, also has transition information including articles, resources, and web links.
To contact Military OneSource by phone, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, call stateside at 1-800-342-9647. The Military OneSource website also lists specific dialing information for other countries.