Army Transition Program: ACAP offers variety of new, improved options
Timothy W. Roope Directorate of Human ResourcesThe Army Career and Alumni Program is the Army’s transition service for Soldiers, Department of Army civilians and their Family members who anticipate leaving the military or government service. For 20 years, ACAP has been assisting Soldiers and their Family members prepare to enter the civilian job market upon separation or retirement.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
This year, the Army made ACAP services mandatory for all separating and retiring Soldiers and made commanders responsible for ensuring they complete ACAP training. Soldiers now must start at least one year before separation, making it easier to work in ACAP requirements and services between major training events.
ACAP’s focus has always been on providing professional employment preparation training, counseling, job search resources and other employment opportunities. But this year, ACAP is updating its curriculum and adding new training and online tools like never before.
First, the Department of Labor Employment Workshop has been updated and modified based on feedback received from those who transitioned. The new curriculum places greater emphasis on writing effective resumes and cover letters, using networking tools, preparing for interviews and evaluating job offers and salaries. Classroom sizes are limited to no more than 50 students and there will be computers available. These changes will enable those in transition get a good start on their resume during the workshop, then complete and polish it with an ACAP counselor at the ACAP center.
Among the many additions to the ACAP curriculum, is a six-hour financial planning seminar that will be taught by certified financial counselors. Topics covered include budgeting, 12-month financial planning, health care planning, health insurance, tax planning and preparation, credit ratings, home ownership and estate planning.
Another new feature is the emphasis on credentialing. Licenses and certifications (credentials) provide proof to a potential employer of an applicant’s level of skill and competence. Having the right credentials when you apply can make all the difference in landing the best jobs. The Army COOL (Credentialing Opportunities Online) website at https://www.cool.army.mil contains a wealth of information for every Army specialty. Soldiers can use this information to start obtaining the required education, training, licenses and certifications that pertain to the civilian careers they plan to pursue long before they separate. The Army Education Center can assist them.
Another exciting new addition to Soldier transition is the Heroes 2 Hired online employment application tool at www.H2H.jobs. It offers users the opportunity not only to perform job searches and post resumes, but translate military skills, explore different career paths and more.
One of H2H’s most innovative features is its “day in the life” vignette series showcasing what you can expect to do in different occupations.
The transition process doesn’t stop the day the Soldier leaves the service. The Veterans Administration is working hard to make it easier to learn about and apply for benefits to ensure Soldiers take advantage of their many benefits after separation. The new EBenefits site, at www.ebenefits.va.gov, is a one-stop shop for benefits-related online tools and information. Military members can even research veteran’s benefits and VA facilities by state and apply online from this site. The My Health eVet site at https://www.myhealth.va.gov allows veterans to register and store self-entered information, make appointments, view prescription history and more.
However, the most significant change to the Army’s Transition Program is that transition is now recognized as a lifecycle requirement starting with the Soldier’s first duty station and supported by the chain of command throughout the Soldier’s career.
Everyone eventually leaves the Army, whether in a few years, or 20 or 30. By starting to prepare early on, Soldiers have time to enhance their Army experience through additional education, certifications and training that will eventually translate into higher pay in their new civilian careers upon separation.