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TAP GPS gives veterans roadmap to civilian life

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The updated Transition Assistance Program- Goals, Plan, Success implemented in November 2012, makes the five-day workshop mandatory for separating service members under the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act. Originally established in the 1990s to support the large number of military members separating during the post-Desert Storm drawdown, TAP is a partnership between the Department of Defense, Department of Labor and Department of Veterans Affairs. Pre-separation counseling is a mandatory prerequisite to attending TAP GPS. It covers benefits, entitlements and services available to veterans.

The purpose of the Transition Assistance Program is to prepare Airmen for their transition back into civilian life. For many, this will be their first time entering the civilian workforce with a career mindset. Regardless of your career path, TAP GPS will help veterans create or update their resumes, assess their skills and experience, and make them more marketable in their next career.

Two of the biggest changes to the TAP program are the Individualized Transition Plan and Financial Planning Seminar portions:

The new program includes creating an Individualized Transition Plan. With the ITP, separating service members make a plan--whether their goals include continuing their education, going right to work, starting their own business or a combination. The ITP provides a framework to achieve goals--it includes assessing financial needs, work experience, career path and then participants create their timeline to reach personal and career goals.

The updated TAP GPS program also emphasizes financial readiness much more than the old program. The Airman and Family Readiness Center knows that financial readiness is essential to a smooth transition, and that it takes planning. The goal is to have a realistic spending plan for transition that will contain current spending, transitional spending and future requirements. The financial planning seminar takes participants through the process of creating a spending plan, analyzing credit reports, evaluating salary and compensation, retirement planning, researching cost of living and tax considerations.

TAP GPS is standardized across the Air Force thereby offering the same curriculum, including a transition overview day, three employment workshop days and a VA benefits day. Retirees are eligible to attend TAP as early as two years before their retirement date, and separating Airmen can attend up to a year before their separation date.

For more information about the Transition Assistance Program, contact the Osan AirmanĀ and Family Readiness Center at 784-5440.