New GPS Program Transforms Transition Assistance

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In 2012, the DoD launched a redesigned Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The new program aims to provide the information, tools, and training to ensure Service members and their spouses are prepared for the next step in civilian life, whether pursuing additional education, finding a job in the public or private sector, or starting their own business. Military spouses can also attend TAP with their service member on a space-available basis.

The TAP curriculum, known as Transition GPS (Goals, Plans, Success) includes a 'core curriculum' and individually chosen modules on education, career technical training, and entrepreneurship. Ultimately, Transition GPS is designed to build skills to allow Service members to depart "career ready" and meet mandatory Career Readiness Standards (CRS), regardless of their branch of Service.

Service members receive the Transition GPS curriculum at key touch points throughout their Military Life Cycle (MLC). This allows Service members the time within their military career to plan for their civilian career. Most importantly, it provides the resources to assist them in planning and aligning their military career goals with their civilian career goals. The curriculum is also available to spouses during the Service member's transition planning.

Transition GPS modules are delivered by the Military Services and partnering agencies at installations in a classroom setting. The Transition GPS Virtual Curriculum is also available online through Joint Knowledge Online (JKO), at any time, for Service members unable to participate in the classroom training. The curriculum is evaluated and improved annually based on Service member feedback to ensure overall effectiveness and excellence.

The following components make up TAP:

Pre-Separation Counseling
The mandatory Pre-Separation Counseling process represents the most holistic, personal, and extended component of TAP. Service members begin the final TAP process between 12 and 24 months but no later than 90 days prior to separation. The process starts with a review and completion of the "Pre-Separation Counseling Checklist", which provides an overview of the programs and services available during their transition. They receive in-depth counseling from trained and qualified TAP professionals allowing them to plan and prepare effectively for all aspects of transition. Service members are introduced to the Individual Transition Plan (ITP) requirement, which helps them determine the actions to take to achieve their career goals. Counseling services cover a range of topics including education and training, employment and career goals, financial management, health and wellbeing, and relocation and housing.

Core Curriculum
The Transition GPS core curriculum builds the Career Readiness Standards (CRS) common to all Service members. Service members who are unable to participate in the classroom training or seeking additional training can access the Transition GPS Virtual Curriculum through JKO.

Training Tracks
Transitioning Service members will have the option of selecting one or more two-day individual Training Tracks aligned with their personal goals: Accessing Higher Education (for those pursuing higher education), Career Technical Training (for those selecting technical training schools and technical fields) and Entrepreneurship (for those pursuing self-employment).

The Capstone is a mandatory component of Transition GPS where commanders, or commanders' designees, verify that Service members have met Career Readiness Standards (CRS) and have a viable Individual Transition Plan (ITP). The purpose of the Capstone event is to evaluate Service member's preparedness to successfully transition from a military to a civilian career. If a Service member requires or desires follow-on assistance, the Commander will facilitate a "warm handover" to appropriate helping partners such as the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Labor.

Virtual Curriculum
The TAP Transition GPS Virtual Curriculum is available through Joint Knowledge Online (JKO). It can be accessed at any time to support long-term career planning and help prepare transitioning Service members to meet CRS. The Virtual Curriculum does not replace classroom training. However, it is a critical component of the redesigned TAP that enables career planning earlier as part of the Military Life Cycle (MLC) implementation model."

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