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Career skills programs help Airmen prepare for post-military employment

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force has begun participating in career skills programs which afford eligible Airmen the opportunity to prepare for a post-Air Force career up to six months before separation or retirement.

Apprenticeships, on-the-job training, employment skills training and internships are all career skills programs that offer skills training opportunities to officer and enlisted service members preparing to transition from military to civilian employment.

“Career skills programs are vocational and technical training programs that focus on the practical application of learned skills and can lead to employment in a specific career or technical trade,” said Ramona Franklin, an education services specialist at the Air Force Personnel Center. “Training can take place up to six months prior to an Airman’s separation.”

According to Franklin, the program is based on two driving principles: the Air Force will allow eligible Airmen to participate in industry training instead of performing military duties during the closing months of their careers, and industry training providers will offer training at little or no cost to eligible Airmen.

An Airman must have completed at least 180 days on active duty and be within 180 days of an approved retirement or separation in order to be eligible to participate in a CSP. Airmen must receive commander’s approval to participate and the training opportunity must meet certain conditions.

“The program must offer a high probability of employment and be provided to the Airman at little or no cost, and should improve or broaden the Airman’s skill by building on occupational skills learned while in service,” Franklin. “You can also choose a program that provides all new skills related to your goal for civilian employment.”

Commanders are encouraged to support career skills programs by identifying transitioning Airmen, ensuring maximum dissemination of information and supporting participation in the program when manpower and resources are sufficient to release the Airman.

“When possible, facilitating the smooth transition of Airmen into the civilian workforce fully employed is in the best interest of both the Air Force and each Airman,” said Todd Usnik, the education operations business process owner.

Airmen may apply to participate in a CSP through self-nominations either after meeting with an education counselor or while attending the Transition Goals, Plans, Success Transition Assistance program. However, Usnik recommends planning ahead for the transition to civilian life.

“Ideally, eligible Airmen should begin identifying potential programs and working with their education or TGPS counselor at least a year out from their separation date,” Usnik said. “For this reason, we send them a myPers message 12 months out to provide them a link to information about the programs.”

For additional information, visit the Air Force Virtual Education Center and then schedule an appointment with an Education or TGPS Guidance Counselor. Airmen may also find details on myPers. Select “Any” from the dropdown menu and search “Job Training.”

For more information about Air Force personnel programs, go to myPers. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following these instructions.