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Program helps ease transition to civilian employment

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Transitioning from the military environment to civilian employment presents many challenges, especially in the current economic climate.

The Transition Assistance Program, a Department of Defense program hosted by the Airman and Family Readiness Center, is a five-day workshop designed to help equip military personnel who are about to separate or retire, and their family members, with the tools to successfully navigate life outside the military.

Due to the upcoming potential reduction in force of civilian personnel, the Department of Labor has allowed for any DOD ID card holder to attend the workshop. According to Kehinde OshikoyaPamphille, Transition Assistance Program manager, civilian personnel are not required to have a set separation date to attend TAP. "They can attend the class at anytime they elect," she said. "Any military member or personnel scheduled for retirement is highly recommended to attend the class. We cover a variety of subjects and career enhancements."

The five days cover resume writing, job search techniques, dressing for success, financial planning, interviewing, negotiating salaries and a full Veteran's Assistance benefits briefing covering health, education and employment benefits.

There are also four different panels included in the TAP seminar - a mock interview panel, an industry panel, a DOD contractor panel and a graduate panel.

The mock interview panel is conducted by off-base company representatives who understand the current interviewing and hiring trends. "Their focus is to provide opportunities to conduct interview techniques and foster 'networking,' a word essential in today's job search," OshikoyaPamphille said.

During and right after the panel, the representatives are available to answer any questions attendees may have about employment. "Things change within three to six months," she said. "The panel members are able to provide them more updated information on what's currently out there, what the employment trends are, what they should do and what they shouldn't do."

The industry and DOD contractor panels consist of a variety of companies, agencies and small businesses. The graduate panel consists of previous TAP attendees who are gainfully employed. "They provide testimonials of their experience looking for jobs," OshikoyaPamphille said.

It's not always easy to find a job, but OshikoyaPamphille said there's an overwhelming number of success stories from those who go through TAP.

Civilians shell out thousands of dollars for the same classes the A&FRC offers for free, she said. It's highly recommended, but not required, that anyone separating from the military take advantage of the workshops offered at the A&FRC.

Before attending TAP, military members must first complete the pre-separation counseling briefing, required for anyone retiring or separating from the military which is mandated by Public Law 109-163, OshikoyaPamphille said. The two-hour briefing is offered every Tuesday morning in the A&FRC office.

Both military and civilian members attending TAP must either take leave or arrange with their supervisor for TAP to be a temporary duty location.

If five days of leave isn't an option, the A&FRC offers individual, two to three hour classes on basic resume writing, job search techniques, a small business seminar and behavioral interviewing.

TAP classes average 35-45 attendees on a first come, first served basis. Upcoming TAP workshops are Oct. 31-Nov. 4 and Dec. 12-16. For more information call the A&FRC at 556-6141 or email 21fss.fsfr.distro@peterson.af.mil.

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