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Research: You Should Attend Transition Assistance More than Once

Warrior Transition Unit Soldier Maj. Lonnie Britton, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, takes part in the Transition Assistance Program, or TAP, at Fort Sill. (U.S. Army photo by Ben Sherman)
Warrior Transition Unit Soldier Maj. Lonnie Britton, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, takes part in the Transition Assistance Program, or TAP, at Fort Sill. (U.S. Army photo by Ben Sherman)

According to research, post 9-11 veterans that attended government-sponsored TAP programs more than once are 57% more likely to indicate that the program was ‘extremely’ or ‘very helpful’ compared to those who attended only once.

An ongoing research study, conducted among the veteran community, demonstrates that service members should attend formal Transition Assistance Programs (TAP) more than once. The transition study, conducted by Military-Transition.org, found that approximately 34% of veterans that participated in TAP claim it was ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ helpful, while roughly 42% indicate the program was ‘slightly’ or ‘not helpful at all.’

“The program is a monumental step forward compared to the assistance I received when departing active duty 20 years ago,” says Brian Niswander, a veteran himself and architect of the transition study. “Our intent for sharing this information is to open a dialog and further improve these programs for future generations of service members and veterans.”

One of the most important observations from the study is that attending TAP more than once results in a measurable increase in claimed efficacy. Among post 9-11 veterans that attended a government sponsored transition program, 77% indicate they attended once and 23% attended more than once. When comparing these distinct groups, those individuals who participated more than once are 57% more likely to indicate that TAP was ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ helpful, following transition.

“In addition to collecting metric data about program effectiveness, our research asks respondents to provide comments about their experiences which can be used to better understand and interpret the data”, says Niswander. The team’s initial review shows several responses emerging about transition efforts.

“One concern we’re seeing is having too much information delivered in a short period, which detracts from retention and application,” says Niswander. Service members attending more than one session were better able to comprehend and apply transition materials to their job search. This study suggests that commanders and front-line supervisors should ensure their subordinates get scheduled earlier and are afforded the opportunity to attend TAP more than once — for instance, planning for service members to attend when they have between 24 and 18 months of service remaining, and again within their last 12 months.

Chris Ford, CEO of the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO), expanded on these findings with these thoughts: “I’ve had dozens of conversations concerning transition training effectiveness with private sector and public sector leaders in recent months. One theme always emerges: getting further left in the transition timeline is the greatest way to optimize outcomes. If service members can attend their transition class 18 months, and again 12 months, before separation, the likelihood of their successful transition increases dramatically.”

Service members are encouraged to utilize the results from this research to improve their transition and already transitioned veterans are asked to participate in the ongoing research at the following link.

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