ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Since 1991, the Transition Assistance Program has been preparing military members from all service branches for their move from military to civilian life.
TAP provides employment assistance and information about services and potential benefits available to veterans.
Most recently, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2019 directed additional TAP mandates.
Timerie Nastav, a community readiness consultant and TAP manager at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, said the program has undergone some changes.
“Service members are required to initiate TAP no later than 365 days from their date of separation or retirement from the military and can begin as soon as three years in advance,” she said.
The law mandates that anyone separating or retiring from any branch of the military, as well as Guard and Reserve members who have been on Title 10 orders for 180 days or more, complete TAP requirements.
Nastav said TAP now includes four phases: Initial Counseling, Pre-separation Briefing, TAP Workshop, and Capstone, all of which should be completed prior to 90 days from separation.
“Service members must attend an initial counseling appointment to begin the process,” she said. “At this appointment, members are placed into one of three tiers based on their goals for after separation and how prepared they are to meet those goals. The designated tier will determine the specific TAP requirements that apply to each service member.”
Nastav said the addition of the initial counseling appointment provides a more personalized approach to the program.
“The changes to the timeline allow the service members more time to prepare for their post-separation goals,” she said.
As the global pandemic continues, Robins Airman and Family Readiness Center has made the required four-phase program available online.
“This virtual resource provides service members who are unable to attend TAP training in person with the means to obtain online instruction,” Nastav said. “It also enables those who wish to remain socially distanced an opportunity to complete their requirements from home.”
Nastav said the online platform also allows service members the opportunity to repeat any of the modules at any time.
“Anyone who would like a refresher on a previously attended course can retake any module online as many times as needed,” she said.
The Department of Defense introduced a new virtual TAP workshop on https://www.tapevents.org/courses in September.
“This new Transition Online Learning replaced the courses previously found on Joint Knowledge Online,” Nastav said.
In addition to the required modules, additional tracks are available for those who would like to dig deeper into one of four areas, including employment, education, entrepreneurship, and vocational training.
Finally, the website offers Military Life Cycle courses such as Transitioning to Federal Employment, Veteran’s Administration Benefits 101, VA Education Benefits, VA Home Loan Guaranty Program, and VA Life Insurance Benefits.
The website offers both common access card and non-CAC enrollment options, and all service members and veterans can take the courses at any time without pre-registration.
“I encourage anyone who is approaching one year from separation or retirement to call the A&FRC at 478-926-1256 to schedule an initial counseling appointment,” Nastav said.
Service members can visit https://www.tapevents.org/courses or call the A&FRC at 478-926-1256 for more information.