The Army’s transition program, the Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program, or SFL-TAP, assists all eligible, transitioning Soldiers with preparing to leave active-duty service. The program is offered to both the active and Reserve component and assists Soldiers in meeting the VOW (Veterans Opportunity to Work) to Hire Heroes Act requirements and the Department of Defense-established Career Readiness Standards.
Transitioning Soldiers are required to attend the program after serving 180 days of continuous Title 10 active-duty service. Throughout the program, Soldiers learn about Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, post-transition budgeting, job applications, resume writing, job skills opportunities and more at SFL-TAP. These program resources are also available to eligible family members, retirees and Department of the Army civilians.
Career Readiness Standards for all Soldiers prior to transitioning from active duty consist of:
- Preseparation counseling
- Department of Labor Employment Workshop and Gold Card for
- Veterans Affairs Benefits Briefings I & II
- VA eBenefits registration (www.ebenefits.va.gov)
- 12-month post-transition budget
- Continuum of military service opportunity counseling (active component only)
- Military occupational specialty crosswalk gap analysis
- Documented requirements for certification, licensure and apprenticeship
- Individual assessment tool
- Individual Transition Plan
- Job application package, which includes resume of choice, reference list and two job applications or job offer letter
- Capstone counseling with warm handover to the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Labor if needed
SFL-TAP encourages transitioning Soldiers to start the program 18 months prior to transition or 24 months prior for retirees.
A November 2016 Hiring Our Heroes Veterans in the Workplace report stated that Soldiers who started their job search at least six months prior to leaving military service were twice as likely to have a job before leaving active duty. Those who started their job search after transition were more likely to make less than $50,000 per year.
SFL-TAP Centers are helpful in getting Soldiers connected to and preparing for civilian life. Various centers around the world hold employer days and other hiring events to encourage local and national employers to meet and hire Soldiers, veterans and their family members. SFL-TAP Centers work to connect clients with employment opportunities, internships, entrepreneurship opportunities, skills programs, education, workshops, webinars and other resources.
SFL-TAP is a commander’s program and commanders need to take an active role in their Soldiers’ transition process. Soldiers who are successful after transition tend to have spent time preparing for what happens next. SFL-TAP has a variety of mandatory and optional courses, as well as career fairs, that are vital to helping Soldiers learn about their future.
(Maj. Gen. Richard Gallant presents Sgt. 1st Class Darrick Wilson with the Meritorious Service Medal during Wilson’s retirement ceremony held at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Jan. 20, 2017. (DoD Civilian photo by Clayton A. Weis)