NEWS | Nov. 8, 2012

JB Charleston holds new TAP VOW Workshop

By Staff Sgt. Anthony Hyatt Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

A new and mandatory five-day Transition Assistance Program Veterans Opportunity to Work Workshop was recently held at the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, S.C.

"The purpose is to expand training and employment services for active and Reserve components members who are transitioning from the military, and to decrease unemployment for our veterans and their spouses," said Linda Lankosz, 628th Force Support Squadron A&FRC community readiness consultant.

The new TAP VOW Workshop, a VOW Act requirement, will supersede the old four-day, non-mandatory TAP Workshop, according to Lankosz. Implementation began Nov. 5, 2012 at the Air Base and will begin Dec. 3, 2012 at the Weapons Station.

H.R. 2433 and Executive Order 13518, pertaining to the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 and the Veterans Employment Initiative, drive a host of newly legislated TAP requirements to expand training and employment services for active and Reserve component members who transition from the military. All military services are pursuing this initiative as it has White House and congressional interest. The first phase of VOW Act requirements will be implemented by Nov. 21, 2012, with remaining VEI components implemented in stages throughout FY13.

"This TAP VOW Workshop begins the process of service members becoming 'Career Ready,'" said Lankosz.

"TAP is important because it allows us to ensure a smooth transition for our military members to get them career ready," said Lt. Col. Danny Davis, 628th FSS commander. "It is the least we can do for those who have faithfully and honorably served our nation."

The workshop includes a transition overview, a military occupational code crosswalk to translate military skills, training and experience into civilian occupations, credentials and employment; a financial planning seminar offered by A&FRC; a re-designed three day employment workshop offered by the Department of Labor; and a Department of Veterans Affairs' briefing on available benefits and services.

With the help of facilitators and an interactive curriculum, service members will create Individual Transition Plans, identifying career goals and developing roadmaps for transition. At the end of the workshop, service members will have ITP review sessions, allowing them to seek guidance from A&FRC staff, said Lankosz.

At the end of the workshop, service members will make track choices which will provide the option of participating in a series of two-day tailored training events. There is an Education track, for those pursuing a higher education degree; a Technical and Skills Training track, for those seeking job-ready skills and industry-recognized credentials in shorter-term training programs; and an entrepreneurship track, for those wanting to start a business.

Once a service member has made a track choice, the A&FRC staff will hand off the service member to a supporting agency, which will contact and support him with continued resources and training.

The mandatory pre-separation briefing, DD Form 2648, is a pre-requisite to the workshop. To register for upcoming TAP VOW Workshops, call 963-4406.