03/20/2013 -- Every service member will have to separate from the military eventually.
To ease the return to the civilian world, the Marine Corps has created a Transition Readiness Seminar.
The seminar, implemented in March 2012, is mandatory for Marines and highly encouraged for Sailors stationed at Marine Corps installations.
“Although the Marine Corps is the only service that makes this mandatory, it is imperative to prepare to transition out properly,” Sgt. Maj. Conrad Potts, sergeant major, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, said. “During this seminar, Marines will get the education and information on Veterans Affairs Benefits, how to write résumés, preparing for job interviews, dressing for success and just a myriad of other information.”
The seminar is offered year-round except during the months of July and December.
The TRS is a weeklong program, which includes a mandatory standardized core curriculum with four well-defined, military-civilian pathways including employment, education, career/technical training and entrepreneurship.
Each pathway is defined as such:
* Employment: The employment pathway is for those interested in starting their next career immediately after their transition. It is facilitated by the Department of Labor and includes career search, creating résumés and interview techniques.
* Education: The education pathway is for those who plan to focus on their academic goals. This class will help service members prepare for college life and assist with understanding college requirements and benefits.
* Career Technical: The technical or vocational education pathway is for those interested in technical training. Technical training prepares trainees for jobs or careers in trade, crafts or engineering, nursing, etc. Participants will receive information about Veterans Affairs educational benefits and admission processes.
* Entrepreneurship: The entrepreneurship pathway educates those interested in developing a small business or franchise. This pathway will show the dynamics involved in developing and sustaining a business and developing a business plan.
“It is important for service members to take advantage of this opportunity because unemployment is so high,” Robin Gray, Transition Counselor, MCLB Albany, said. “There is a tremendous amount of information offered and we leave them with tools they need to transition out of the military.”
For some, the TRS is a confidence booster and eases the anxiety of starting a new career after leaving the Marine Corps.
“I feel confident now that I have taken this class because of the knowledge and experience I gained,” Sgt. Jamece Freeman, ammunition storage chief, MCLB Albany, said. “Some of the things I learned in this seminar I didn’t know about and I encourage service members to take it more than once as a refresher as it gets closer to their time to depart.”
According to Gray, President Barack Obama directed the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to lead a joint task force to develop proposals to maximize the career readiness of all service members.
The Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act, October 2011, mandated further improvements in the way the federal government prepares service members for their transition to civilian careers by placing emphasis on addressing the immediate and time-sensitive needs of separating service members.
The VOW act made participation in several components of the Transition Assistance Program mandatory for all service members, according to Gray.