Tap into the civilian side

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Veronica Stamps
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
For military members who are contemplating 'hanging up the boots,' the next step after separation or retirement can be difficult. To help prepare Team Holloman members for life after the military, the Airman and Family Readiness Center hosts the Transition Assistance Program, or TAP.

"We talk about relocation, where their next job is going to be, what types of jobs they're looking for, preparing them financially and making sure they know what school they're going to," said Cryus Maxilom, TAP specialist at the A&FRC. "Sometimes we get so inundated with the Air Force mission, we don't see that now, as we step outside the military, we need to also take care of ourselves."

Active duty members with 12 months or less remaining in their service contracts are required to attend this congressionally-mandated pre-separation briefing and encouraged to participate in a supplemental three-day workshop.

"Start early in that planning process because it gives you enough lead time to get through those three programs," said Charlie Tallman, TAP manager at the A&FRC. "It gives you enough preparation time to do a proper résumé and job search so that you're not doing a knee jerk at the very end."

The TAP seminar is the meat and potatoes of the program, which includes information on local and out-of-state resources, résumé building, job hunting tips and benefits available for veterans and their families. Other topics covered include education, medical and disability benefits, financial planning and relocation assistance.

"When you translate your Air Force career into a civilian job, you walk in with all that experience and education," said Tallman. "You have a huge advantage now when you get out of the military and are way ahead of the competition in the civilian sector."

TAP also serves as a retention tool for those who might reconsider leaving active duty by allowing them to compare their current lifestyle with the challenges they might encounter in the civilian world.

"If you don't know if you're going to get out because you haven't done what we call an informed career decision, let's sit down and talk," said Maxilom. "[The TAP seminar] helps people to become productive citizens as they become civilians."

For those who are undecided as to whether or not they want to continue wearing the Air Force uniform, they can talk with representatives during a three-day program who can assist them with reference materials on getting a job outside the military.

Approximately 25 to 40 Airmen attend the three-day TAP seminars each month to gain this wealth of information before making their final decision.

"Everyone and anyone that has something to do with your separation or retirement, from job search to education benefits, is going to be in that seminar," said Tallman. "It's just loaded with information."

Whether you're marking down the days on your calendar toward your separation or retirement date or have made the commitment to continue serving in the Air Force, attending the three-day workshop will ensure a successful career move.

For more information about TAP, call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 575-572-7754.