By Tim McGough
Commander, Navy Installations Command Fleet and Family Readiness Programs Communications Liaison
The GPS portion of Transition-GPS may remind us of the Global Positioning System, but it actually means goals, plans and success. Just like the GPS capabilities we have in our cars and smart phones, the program guides service members in the right direction and gets them where they need to be when they leave the military and return to civilian life.
Last year, Commander, Navy Installations Command, in conjunction with the departments of Defense, Labor, Homeland Security, and Education; the Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; and the Veterans Administration redesigned the Navy’s Transition Assistance Program class to become today’s Transition-GPS.
One of the goals of Transition-GPS is to help service members depart the military “career ready” with ideas and strategies that will ensure they have a smooth transition to their next path. The mindset of ensuring Sailors are career ready ensures they are prepared for whatever their next step may be, whether it be attending school, finding a new job, starting their own business or entering retirement.
Most of us know it is tough out there and good paying jobs aren’t easy to acquire. Service members may ask what benefits do I rate? Where do I go for veteran’s assistance? How do I create a resume? Are my military skills good enough to get me a job in the civilian world? I could go on and on with questions. Transition GPS will answer all of these questions and more.
It also assists Sailors with the process of exploring higher education, vocational training or entrepreneurship. Instead of me trying to explain, I’ll use a paragraph directly from the Transition-GPS webpage.
“During the new Transition GPS program, Sailors and family members will learn how to increase their marketability to find that career they are looking for. They will evaluate financial responsibilities, develop their individual transition plan (ITP), translate military skills into civilian language via the Military Occupational Code (MOC) Crosswalk, attend an employment workshop where they develop a current resume, contact resources, and attend a VA Benefits Brief.”
This new and improved workshop, in reality, is just like any other class that’s offered to Sailors and their families at their Fleet and Family Support Center. You get out of it what you put into it. I know that is the “oldest cliché in the book,” but if it wasn’t true, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I would be loading trucks with furniture, nursing a sore back, and asking myself, “Why didn’t I listen in TAP class?” Thankfully, I did listen and took advantage of TAP. Believe me, you can too and if you do, Transition-GPS will give you and your family more assistance and knowledge than the old transition class did.
One additional requirement under the new Transition-GPS, which is mandatory for all separating Sailors, is that the service member must meet Career Readiness Standards prior to separating and/or refer to an agency partner to continued support of his/her career goals after separation. Check with your local FFSC for Transition-GPS class details and dates.
What advice would you give to a Sailor preparing to transition out of the Navy?