By Thomas Zimmerman 31 January 2018
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
–General George Washington,
November 10th, 1781
The U.S. has been at war for more than 16 years and now has the largest population of young veterans since the Vietnam War. The Army recognizes their service and has developed programs to make sure they transition from active duty careers with the skills and experience to find meaningful employment.
The Army’s Soldier for Life program links transitioning Soldiers to employment and education opportunities, and encourages Veterans continued service to the Nation.
The program here, run by Jeff Hanks, the Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program Manager, has helped more than 3,000 servicemembers since 2005.
The program is open to active duty, National Guard and Reserve Soldiers.
“The Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program process works best when initiated early,” said Hanks. “Retiring or separating servicemembers may begin the process two years before their retirement date and separating servicemembers should begin no later than no later than 12-18 months out.”
The Soldier for Life mindset is a holistic approach to the military life cycle career of a Soldier. The Army aims to take care of teammates by ensuring Soldiers start strong, serve strong, and reintegrate strong so they remain Army Strong serving their communities after they leave the Army.
The Chief of Staff of the Army created the Soldier for Life office to enable Army, government and community efforts to facilitate successful reintegration of our Soldiers, veterans, and their families in order to keep them Army Strong and instill their values, ethos and leadership within communities.
Across the Army the transition program has changed from the old ACAP program which lasted only 2 ½ days to the new five day program. Pre-separation/initial counseling is completed the prior to the start of the five day workshop.
The workshop provides separating personnel the skills and knowledge needed to obtain a new career. Attendees are taught principles in setting objectives, networking, writing resumes’ and cover letters, interviewing techniques, salary/benefit negotiations, and other job search skills. Information is also provided to attendees regarding veterans’ benefits, health insurance, joining the Reserve and National Guard, and how to file for disability and unemployment insurance benefits. The workshops are conducted by Hanks and his team with VA representatives and Department of Labor facilitators.
“The program provides a tremendous amount of information and resources to the servicemember so they can get started in making the right choices as they exit the service to their next career,” said Hanks.
All SFL-TAP classes are held in from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. unless otherwise noted. These services are extended to spouses accompanied by their sponsors but must register also. For more information contact Army Community Service at (717) 245-4357 / 3684 or register at http://carlislebarracks.carlisle.army.mil/MWR/ACSEventRegistration.cfm.
Employment Readiness Program also available
Also, available as part of the programs for Soldiers is the ACS Employment Readiness Program. The program aims to assist families with the challenges associated with the job search, particularly as they are impacted by the Army's mobile lifestyle. Carlisle Barracks ERP provides a full range of information and referral services and assistance in the areas of employment, training and volunteer opportunities. The services are designed to give all active duty, retired military personnel, DoD employees, and their Family members the competitive edge necessary to secure employment. For more information contact Army Community Service at (717) 245-4357 / 3684.