After more than two decades, the program designed to assist military personnel leaving the service with finding employment in the civilian world is getting what many believe is a much-needed, and long overdue, overhaul. In late July, President Obama announced that the Transitions Assistance Program, known as TAP, will soon be revitalized to provide new services to personnel leaving their military careers.
Under the current program, which has been in place for little over 20 years, departing military personnel must attend three days of counseling and classroom instruction. Other programs, such as resume preparation courses and transitioning into a civilian workplace environment, have been offered as optional.
Under the new program, known as TAP GPS, for “goals, planning, and success,” there will be much more individualized counseling and training provided. Counseling sessions will be individualized to focus on what the departing service member wants to do after they leave the service area for example, those who wish to pursue college, entrepreneurialism, or attend technical training will be provided with counseling specifically tailored to their desires.
There’ll also be lengthier classroom sessions, more focus on the details of what service personnel need to do to find a job, as well as follow-up after they have left. Education courses will also begin much earlier in the service member’s career, instead of coming almost exclusively at the end.
Though the unemployment rate for veterans has decreased significantly over the past several years, it remains higher than the average unemployment rate of all Americans.