Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Troops get survival training for civilian life

A federal program is easing the transition of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans into civilian life, providing employment classes, job-search assistance and other services.

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) aids troops as they prepare to retire or separate from the military. Workshops and services range from résumé writing to financial management.

The program is important: The unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was 11.5% in July, markedly above the national rate of 9.5%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Starting as early as two years before retirement and one year before separation, soldiers are required to attend a TAP employment workshop and other briefings. Each branch of the military is also required by law to provide servicemembers with counseling at least 90 days before they complete their service.

Department of Labor employees usually run the Army's job-search workshops, which feature the online Job Assistance Training Application. The program takes the soldiers through a series of workshops, each detailing a phase of job hunting.

The website TurboTAP.org is an online resource that can help troops understand and take advantage of TAP.

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