The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) helps many servicemembers transition from military life to the civilian workplace and culture. Servicemembers are taught how to manage their finances, interview for jobs, and write resumes before their re-entry into civilian life. However, despite TAPs best efforts, some servicemembers don't feel fully prepared for the workforce. Many servicemembers applaud TAP for providing basic information about interviewing and resume writing, but some military personnel say the classes don't completely address the reality of finding a job after the military. Laura Goulding, a former Navy officer, found that even though TAP says companies are eager to hire transitioning servicemembers, she could not find those companies or opportunities. "I went through the TAP class as part of my transition," says Goulding. "I heard over and over about how potential employers love candidates with military backgrounds." Goulding - who separated in 2004 after a five-year Naval career - eventually found employment on her own that put her professional background to good use. "I was fortunate that I left with my bachelor's degree and my experience in journalism and public relations," Goulding adds. Dave Dubois, who transitioned out of the U.S. Air Force, agrees that TAP can do more to prepare servicemembers for a tough job market. "TAP needs to do a better and more realistic job of [showing] how military members can prepare and position themselves for employment in the civilian sector," Dubois says. Conversely, the DoL warns that some veterans and separating servicemembers will "find it difficult to compete successfully in the labor market." Additionally, the DoL - in a statement on their website - says that TAP participants are given an evaluation of their employability relative to the job market. Given that specialized training, some servicemembers would still like to have more practical information available during the TAP class. "I would like for TAP to segment the class into active-duty and veterans so that people are getting the information they need. Maybe a little practical knowledge would be good." In addition to attending TAP programs, separating and transitioning servicemembers can use online resources such as Military.com's Transition Center. The Transition Center offers the practical information that so many veterans need to succeed in today's civilian workforce. The practical information includes: detailed advice on what to wear to an interview, open positions at military-friendly companies, and how to use your benefits (such as the GI bill or VA Loan) to obtain an education or a home. What do you think about the Transition Assistance Program? Has it helped you prepare for your re-entry into the civilian world? Talk about it on our discussion board.
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