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Transitioning: Benefits to starting ACAP early

Courtesy Art

Courtesy Art

Published: June 13, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 12, 2104) -- Congress has given the authority for transitioning Soldiers who have served a minimum of 180 days on active duty to begin using Army Career and Alumni Program services 18 months prior to their expiration term of service and two years prior to their retirement date.

These benefits also apply to Family members of transitioning Soldiers.

So, why do you need to start so far out? The short answer is that you have a lot to do to get ready to transition from the military and back into the civilian job market. Meanwhile, you still have a job to do in the military with its known and unknown mission requirements to work around. The optimum solution is to use the Swiss Cheese Effect to take little bites out of the process and keep it manageable.

To begin with, you will need an initial appointment with the ACAP Center staff to receive your mandatory pre-separation briefing or take it on line at Every Soldier getting out of the Army must have this before scheduling anything else. However, it only takes about one to two hours to complete.

At this appointment, you will learn about your transition benefits and complete your DD Form 2648 – a signed copy of which must be placed in your official personnel records. Following your pre-separation briefing, you should schedule a five-day employment workshop.

The Fort Rucker ACAP Center staff holds a bimonthly five-day employment workshop each month. These workshops are designed to let you meet with a Department of Labor representative for a three-day workshop, a six-hour briefing on your Veterans Affairs benefits and a six-hour financial planning seminar. You will also want to apply for your VA disability rating within six to two months from your separation or retirement date.

It’s not until after you have attended the five-day employment workshop, however, that you know and appreciate how little time you really have, and what all you need to be doing to get ready to transition from the military.

At this point, your stress level will probably be rising. You will need to begin researching the type of jobs that you want to be considered for, your salary requirements, where you want to live, and the companies you want to work for. If you haven’t begun networking by this point, you are already falling behind.

You will also need several resumes for the jobs that you want to apply for. Each will need a corresponding cover letter. Furthermore, you will need to do in-depth research on the companies to find out more about them for interview purposes. Finally, when you do get interviews, you will need a new wardrobe of clothes to wear to these events.

This is only a partial summary of things that you will be required to do to make a smooth transition to your dream job in the civilian world. So, as you can see, there’s a lot to do to get ready to transition.

However, you are not in it alone. The ACAP staff will guide and assist you with all your transition needs, but it will still take a lot of your time. The earlier you begin, the lower your stress level will be, the more out of debt you will be and the more money you can save for that new wardrobe.

Don’t wait until the last minute to get started – call the Fort Rucker ACAP Center at 255-2558 to register for ACAP services and schedule other ACAP-sponsored events.

This article was originally published at

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