By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeffry Willadsen, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Everett
MARYSVILLE, Wash. – Naval Station Everett hosted a Retirement Transition Assistance Program course the week of Feb. 3.
After spending more than 20 years in the service of their country, Sailors are given the ability to retire from the Navy and many strive to reach that goal.
Though they may spend much time and effort in reaching this goal, most probably do not put much thought into what will happen after they retire. The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) at Naval Station Everett (NSE) offers a solution to this problem: a class specifically for soon-to-be retirees.
TAP offers a five-day interactive workshop designed to help separating Sailors achieve a smooth transition to civilian life. For NSE this workshop is provided at the Smokey Point Naval Support Complex in two separate formats, retirement and separation.
The retiree version of the course is specifically designed to aid future retirees with their own unique issues concerning this important transition.
“Primarily it involves entitlements and programs that apply to retirees that don’t apply to somebody who’s not retiring,” said Jesse Bennett, NSE’s TAP lead instructor.
A large portion of the class is dedicated to familiarizing future retirees with the benefits and programs they are entitled to, including Tricare benefits, death benefits and other programs. The priority is to Inform Sailors on as much as possible.
“There’s so much info it’s hard to take it all in,” said Chief Electrician’s Mate (SW) Roy Vasquez from Weslaco, Texas, an attendee of the retirement TAP class. “This course is a necessity for anyone retiring.”
In recent years, much emphasis was put into making TAP classes as informative and interactive as possible. Bennett said TAP has made several positive changes since he went through a similar program while retiring from the Air Force.
“I would have very much appreciated a more robust class like we have here,” said Bennett. “I did struggle quite a bit with my transition. I had to learn a few things on my own, which we teach here at the transition class.”
In addition to an abundance of information, attendees of the retirement TAP class are informed about certain issues they may face that are specific to military retirees.
“I spent 28 years in. I was 17 years old when I joined the Air Force, that’s all I had known,” said Bennett. “You only do this one time in your career … transition from being in the military to going back to the civilian world. It’s a stressful thing.”
The fact that retired Sailors have spent so much time in the military can sometimes cause complications when searching for a civilian job.
“Speaking as somebody who has retired from the military, I think in some regards, it’s a little more difficult,” said Bennett. “We are older and it’s a young person’s world.
“For us to succeed, we have to be able to market ourselves really well out there in the civilian world,” said Bennett. “We have to be able to show how our military experience and training will really benefit an employer.”
To help with these issues, a large portion of the TAP class is dedicated to teaching vital job-seeking skills such as interviewing and resume writing. Highly interactive techniques, such as practice interviews, are used to make Sailors feel more prepared.
Sailors will also have written their own resume by the end of the class. Instructors provide help and attempt to ensure that each Sailor’s resume is written as effectively as possible.
“Being able to master your interviewing skills [and] being in the master how to write resumes [are] things that we never really think about being in the military,” said Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/SCW) Melinda Torrey from Bremerton, Wash., and TAP attendee who is planning to retire next year. “You pretty much have to sell yourself in a language that the civilian world understands. It’s extremely valuable, more than I could ever imagine.”
In addition to making oneself marketable to employers, a large portion of the retiree TAP class is focused on adapting back to a civilian job.
“It’s kind of like teaching an old dog new tricks,” said Torrey. “You learned to do something for 20 years and here you are going to a different sector. You need to prepare.”
By the end of the course, Sailors feel more confident about their skills in getting a job as a military retiree.
Bennett said the NSE TAP program receives a lot of positive feedback from Sailors who feel they gained valuable skills and information from the program.
“I’ve learned a lot,” said Vasquez. “It’s extremely helpful.”
For more information on TAP visit: http://www.public.navy.mil/BUPERS-NPC/CAREER/TRANSITION/Pages/TAP.aspx