Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

July 6, 2017 at 7:59am

Transition program keeps servicemembers employed

Senior Airman Ethan Eastling receives career counseling from Steve Holley, Service Member for Life Transition Assistance Program unit outreach team member, June 27, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

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The transition from military to civilian life is inevitable for every servicemember, but with help from the Service Member for Life Transition Assistance Program, it doesn't have to be done alone.

The SFL TAP on Joint Base Lewis-McChord provides relevant and practical tools and services to help transitioning servicemembers reintegrate into the civilian workforce.  

"This helps prepare them and give them the resources needed for their future career," said Pat Jackson-Holly, SFL TAP unit outreach team member. "I wish there was something like this when I was transitioning from the service."

A Department of Defense-mandated program, SFL TAP ensures that career readiness standards are met for all servicemembers separating or retiring from the military.

"There is no understandable reason why servicemembers wouldn't take advantage of this," said Jackson-Holly. "On the outside you'd be paying a pretty penny for services like this."

Servicemembers within 18 months of separating or 24 months of retiring are required to enroll in SFL TAP.

"I highly recommend that servicemembers take getting involved with TAP very seriously," said Jackson-Holly. "Transition data shows that servicemembers are not starting SFL TAP within the mandated timeline, and that they are having insufficient time to complete training needed to integrate into the workforce."  

Servicemembers starting the program are given a pre-separation briefing and a counseling. They are then taken through a number of briefings and workshops which include a financial briefing, Department of Labor workshop, and a Veterans Affairs brief.

"When you start the process, you'll do a career assessment to find a field of work you might like," said Jackson-Holly. "There is also a class that translates military skills to civilian jobs."

The program provides resumé writing classes and a variety of hiring events and opportunities, as well as programs to learn different trade skills.     

"Sometimes it can be misleading when you are applying for jobs online," said Jackson-Holly. "This program gives servicemembers a leg up and can actually grant interviews with potential employers."

Going beyond job placement, the program helps servicemembers find a career they enjoy doing, said Jackson-Holly.  

"If you don't love what you're doing you have nothing to lose," said Jackson-Holly. "We don't want to just find employment for you, we want to put you in a job you'll love."  

Tailored to work around busy schedules, servicemembers shouldn't let their military jobs or hectic work schedule deter them from attending, said Jackson-Holly.   

"This is a command-mandated program, and servicemembers should not let their busy schedule stop them from participating," said Jackson-Holly. "This program is in everyone's best interest."

To find out more information about SFL TAP, call 253.967.3258.

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