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    Soldiers in transition explore new career opportunities -- Army TAP and California Department of Corrections work together to pre-qualify Soldiers for employment

    Soldiers in transition explore new career opportunities

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds | Capt. Hunter Webb, a future operations officer in charge assigned to the 89th Military...... read more read more

    FORT HOOD, TX, UNITED STATES

    08.05.2014

    Story by Sgt. Lance Pounds 

    13th Public Affairs Detachment

    FORT HOOD, Texas – The Army Transition Assistance Program coordinates pre-qualification testing for possible employment of transitioning Soldiers with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation July 29, at various locations on post.

    “This is the first time the department has gone out of state for recruitment,” according to Lt. Ray Baez, a senior background investigator with the office of Peace Officer Selections for the CDCR. Baez also serves as a military liaison for the department.

    “During research I figured a military installation would be an ideal pool to pick from,” said Baez, who chose Fort Hood based on the large number of California residence who live here.

    “We understand that there are several thousand Soldiers on Fort Hood, who come from California, that are generally drug free and disciplinary free; the two biggest things that disqualify people,” said Baez, as he described his admiration for character and discipline of those who serve.

    The transition program bridges the gap between the needs of the employer and the needs of the transitioning Soldier.

    TAP, commonly known as the Army Career and Alumni Program, is a program that provides transition and job assistance services on major installations. Their goals are to target on the human resource needs of Soldiers and families exiting military service.

    The Army spends more than $500 million dollars a year on unemployment to recently separated Soldiers who meet the eligibility criteria. By law Soldiers could receive up to 26 weeks of unemployment compensation.

    The program helps Soldiers and their families understand the negative impact unemployment could have on potential career opportunities. It also provides detailed job assistance training, counseling and the resources needed to quickly find work – often prior to the Soldier leaving active duty.

    TAP resources include transition information and counseling for pre-separation, employment assistance, relocation, education and training, health and life insurance, finances, Army Reserve affiliation, disabled Veterans, and retirement.

    A study performed by the Army Research Institute demonstrated that the full use of all ACAP services reduces the time it takes for individuals to find a job and increases the amount of money they earn.

    For the candidates testing for employment with the CDCR, thoughts of securing a job, furthering their career, or serving in a leadership position rest on the forefront of their minds.

    “This would be an easy transition for me because of my military background,” said Sgt. Cornelius Daniels, a fueler assigned to A Company, 115th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. Daniels, originally from Ozark, Alabama, is using the program to secure a job prior to exiting the service in October after 11 years on active duty.

    “This is one of many options I have to further my career in Criminal Justice,” said Capt. Hunter Webb, a future operations officer in charge assigned to the 89th Military Police Brigade. Webb, a native of Houston, said he feels the transition will be smooth since the organization as a whole resembles the military.

    “I use to work at a prison… You have to be assertive when you are in charge of inmates,” said Linda Prewitt, a military spouse, as she expressed her desire to return to a leadership position. Prewitt, originally from Louisville, Kentucky, said her husband also plans to apply to the CDCR near the end of his service.

    Baez stated that the reason the department is interested in transitioning Soldiers is because of the length of time allotted to them to find employment after service.

    Individuals seeking a job with the department must complete the pre-qualification process, which takes on average nine months to a year, followed by 16 weeks in an academy before they will be looked at for employment, said Baez.

    If utilized properly, the program could eliminate most, if not all, of the wait time prior to employment by identifying Soldiers as they enter their transition windows.

    “The ACAP process is 24 months for retirees and 18 months for everyone else, the ideal goal is to have everyone done with the five-day work shop and all the other requirements by 12 months out, which allows them time to execute their plan,” said Robert Schumacher, marketing coordinator for the Fort Hood Soldier for Life TAP.

    The programs built in allotment of time is intended to ease Soldiers back into a civilian lifestyle.

    “It is designed to prepare people for the transition from the military world back into the civilian workforce,” said Schumacher. “Our goal is to make sure that everyone that goes through the program has at least a plan, rather its employment, college, trade school, or entrepreneurship.”

    The ACAP process is meant to assist Soldiers in the creation of a solid plan, a task that Schumacher says is sometimes met with resistance.

    “Resistance is probably the number one issue we run into,” said Schumacher, as he referred to individuals who enter the program with a preconceived plan. “We tell everyone who enters the program, it may give you a different perspective then you already have.”

    Perspective, Schumacher says does not stop with the service member here.

    The ACAP office, located in the Copeland building on post, extends the assistance from the service member to their spouse, as well as dependents between the ages of 16-23. This service allows the whole family to transition as a unit.

    The program, designed to assist Soldiers during transition, is going through a transition of its own. Soldiers in transition will continue to use the current ACAP resources until the process is complete.

    The new Soldier for Life concept is designed to assist Soldiers throughout their career. The focus is to start strong, serve strong, reintegrate strong, and remain strong. The SFL website consists of countless links and resources aimed at helping Soldiers.

    Although the name has changes the mission remains the same; preparing Soldiers for the future.

    The official ACAP website states that all Soldiers deserve the best possible start in the civilian world when the time comes to leave the Army, and that the program provides the knowledge and skills to smooth the way.

    For more information about the Transition Assistance Program / Army Career and Alumni Program, call 288-ACAP or 288-JOBS, come by the ACAP Center located on the 3rd floor of the Copeland Soldier Service Center building 18010, or view the Department of the Army ACAP Homepage at www.acap.army.mil to learn more about Pre-separation Information and Planning.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.05.2014
    Date Posted: 08.11.2014 12:25
    Story ID: 138968
    Location: FORT HOOD, TX, US 
    Hometown: HOUSTON, TX, US
    Hometown: LOUISVILLE, KY, US
    Hometown: OZARK, KY, US

    Web Views: 189
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