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AF integrates TAP into new Military Lifecycle Model

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- The redesigned Transition Assistance Program is in its third and final stage and will be integrated into the new Defense Department Military Lifecycle Model, Air Force Personnel Center officials said.

The MLC, which will be implemented Oct. 1, is the latest in a series of improvements to the Transition Goals Planning Success, or Transition GPS. In October, the Air Force will align TAP resources to engage at key touch-points in the MLC model to ensure Airmen prepare for life after the military beginning with their first day on active duty.

"Adopting the MLC TAP model is a proactive approach, poising Airmen to thrive in civilian life," said Lt. Col. Jordan Davis, the Air Force TAP manager.

Implementing the MLC is one of four goals developed by the Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force focused on preparing transitioning service members for a post-service career. The four goals include the following:

- Adopt standards for career readiness
- Implement a revamped TAP curriculum
- Implement a capstone or final assessment
- Implement an MLC transition

Integrating TAP into the MLC will require Airmen to focus on specific tasks at certain times in their careers.

New Airmen will be required to prepare an individual development plan that they will use as an action plan throughout their military career, and that they will transform into a retirement or separation transition plan.

Airmen will be prompted by the Military Personnel System to evaluate their career and life goals to ensure they are on track. Below are examples of what might be expected at each touch point:

- First permanent duty station: individual development plan, budget, education program review
- Re-enlistment: education program review, budget, career goals, licensure/certification review
- Promotion: budget review, professional resume, military occupational crosswalk
- Performance feedback: financial and career goals
- Mobilization/activation, demobilization/deactivation: budget, education, virtual TAP
- Major life events (such as marriage or birth of a child): review financial plans, review long-term professional goals
- Retirement/separation: TAP, Transisiton GPS

"Integrating TAP objectives into the MLC takes us a step closer to the goal of embedding military to civilian transition planning across the military lifecycle, rather than waiting until Airmen get ready to retire," said Wendy Link, the AFPC Airman and Family Sustainment Branch community readiness analyst. "Providing Airmen with this type of training throughout their career ensures they have the time and resources to prepare for a smooth transition from the military."

The 2012 TAP redesign focused on gathering activities necessary to prepare members for life outside of the military into one comprehensive effort. Transition training is now mandatory for all service members who will be discharged after 180 or more active-duty days. Core transition training modules include pre-separation counseling, the Transition GPS workshop, a two-part Veterans Administration benefits briefing and a capstone session. The MLC program will add tools to the toolbox that will help Airmen throughout their careers.

The Transition GPS workshop is the only part of the program that can be waived for such circumstances as a separating member who already has confirmed employment. However, before separating or retiring, such Airmen must still meet career readiness standards and have a viable individual transition plan, which will be verified during capstone, Link said.

Separating service members at geographically separated units, those with a short-notice separation and those contemplating retirement can complete the transition program online. Link stressed, however, that while the virtual programs mirror the 'brick and mortar' classes they should be a last resort. Face-to-face training is still the most desirable participation method.

Transition program coordinators constantly review program curricula to ensure tools provided are useful. Two recent updates include a Small Business Administration 'Boots to Business' class and the stand-up of a new website.

Boots to Business is a worldwide three-step training program developed to introduce transitioning service members to business ownership.

"This program is really great for service members with an entrepreneurial spirit," Link said. "Boots to Business ensures every transitioning service member has access to a standardized entrepreneurship training track as well as contact information with small business resources in their local communities."

The new website, https://www.dodtap.mil, replaces the TurboTAP.org page and features an Air Force specific tab directing Airmen to transition information.

"Adopting the MLC TAP model reinforces the Air Force's enduring commitment to caring for Airmen today and tomorrow when they hang up the uniform," Link said. "Helping Airmen set transition mile markers throughout their career also pays substantial dividends for readiness and resiliency. The MLC TAP model enables Airmen to have a clearer view of their horizons so they do not make career decisions in a vacuum. Strengthening and supporting Airmen to be their best makes them more self-assured warriors today and better-informed veterans tomorrow."

For more information about TAP and other services available, contact a local Airman and Family Readiness Center. For more information about other personnel issues, visit the myPers website