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Preparing for life after the military

  • Published
  • By Craig Fitzkee
  • 90th Force Support Squadron
There are transition deliverables required from all service members who are separating or retiring, whether they have completed six months or 30 years of service. Separation or retirement from military service is inevitable. At some point in people's military career, they will need to begin their transition from active military service to their next career. A successful transition begins with good preparation and knowledge of available resources.

The Air Force has recently incorporated a new transition program process, called Capstone, to assist separating and retiring Airmen with their transition back to the civilian community. The mandatory programs and requirements were developed in a joint venture between the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, and the Small Business Administration, which encompass requirements of the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act. These organizations established deliverables to verify transitioning service members are able to translate and apply their military training and experience into educational pursuits, civilian careers or SBA opportunities outside of the military.

All service members must complete capstone requirements to ensure they're prepared when they leave the military. Transition deliverables consist of the congressionally-mandated verification of Transition - Goals, Plans and Success - Workshop attendance and completion of Career Readiness Standards (resume, budget, individual transition plan, school or employment acceptance letters, etc). The first step in the transition process begins with pre-separation counseling.

Pre-separation counseling can be completed 12 months prior to separation dates, or 24 months prior to anticipated retirement dates. Completion of pre-separation counseling makes people eligible for the next phase of their transition, attendance in the mandatory five-day Transition-GPS Workshop.

Attending the Transition-GPS Workshop provides participants with data, facts and knowledge to successfully transition to a second career and life after the military. The workshop includes valuable VA benefit information, how to explore career interests, use search tools to find job opportunities, write a resume, interview for a position, negotiate a salary and more. Participants are encouraged to complete the following deliverables during the Workshop: Military Occupation Code Crosswalk, a 12-month, post-separation budget, resume, cover letter, and individual transition plan. In addition to the five-day Transition-GPS workshop, service members pursuing higher education, technical training or small business entrepreneurship opportunities are required to attend an additional two-day seminar associated to the track they are pursuing. After all these components have been completed, the service member is ready to begin the transition capstone verification process.

Capstone is a review of the service member's CRS, as listed on the DD Form 2958, Service Member Career Readiness Standards and Individual Transition Plan Checklist, by a transition counselor at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center. When completed, the Airmen is ready to obtain their commander's review and signature.

The commander's review is the final step of the transition readiness verification.
DODI 1332.35, Transition Assistance Program for Military Personnel, requires a commander or a designee to verify whether the service member meets the career readiness standards prior to separating or retiring. Commanders do this by reviewing the individuals CRS with them and signing the DD Form 2958.

The entire transition process aids a successful transition. For more information on pre-separation counseling, the Transition-GPS workshop or Capstone, call 773-5940, 773-5945 or 773-3069.