Author : debi-teter

Phases of Individual Transition Planning

Posted by Debi Teter
Many professionals in the personnel industry have published guides on career changes. These show that everyone undergoing a career transition seems to go through the same fundamental stages. This section describes the activities and outcomes of the seven phases of individual transition planning. Phase One: Assessment Who am I? What talents and experiences do I possess? Why would someone want to hire me? In this phase, document your portfolio of knowledge, experience, skills, talents, and abilities. For starters, create a list using your personal Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document, DD Form 2586. This document is available to you online at Contact your supporting Transition Office for assistance if you are unable to access the VMET On-Line website. Your VMET outlines the training and experience you received during your military career. It is designed to help you, but it is not a resume. Add anything else you can think of to this list. In essence, you are now creating an “asset bank” from which you can draw later when called upon to write a resume or attend a job interview. If you need help, use the professional guidance available through your local installation Transition Office or Education Center. Or refer to the self-help section of your local library or bookstore for useful career planning books. The investment you make now in conducting your assessment is very valuable. It will bring the “professional you” into clearer focus, and it will have a major impact in making and implementing your career decisions. Phase Two: Exploration What are the current and emerging occupational areas that are attractive to me? Do these jobs coincide with my values and aptitudes? How do I find such jobs? With your assessment in hand, you probably have some ideas about what you want to do. Now is not the time to limit your opportunities. Expand the list of job titles and career paths that appeal to you. Broaden your geographic horizons to include several places where you might like to pursue your career. Many resources are available to help you explore your expanded set of options. Do your homework. The Transition Office can help you focus on jobs that employers need to fill today and will need to fill in the near future. Transition staff can help you identify the geographic areas that have opportunities in your fields of interest. Your state employment office is another good resource during this phase, offering such services as job interviewing; selection and referral to openings; job development; employment counseling; career evaluation; referral to training or other support services; and testing. It can lead you to information on related jobs nearby and can introduce you to the Department of Labor database, DoD Job Search, which has listings of thousands of jobs across the nation. Many other assets are available; your Transition Office can tell you about them. Use the library too; the Reference Section has helpful publications. And, do not forget about the unlimited number of resources found on the Internet. Phase Three: Skills Development How do I prepare myself to be an attractive candidate in the occupational areas that I have chosen? Do I need additional education or training? As you continue through the exploration phase, you may find some interesting opportunities for which you feel only partially equipped. Your local Transition Office and Education Center can help you determine the academic credentials or vocational training programs you will need and how to acquire them. Phase Four: Trial Career Programs/Intern Programs Do I have the aptitude and experience needed to pursue my occupational interests? Are there internships, volunteer jobs, temporary services, or part-time jobs where I might try out the work that interests me? To learn about intern programs, inquire at your Transition Office, your local civilian personnel office, or the state employment office. Some government-sponsored programs, such as obtaining teaching credentials, can provide income and training in exchange for guaranteed employment. Check local and base libraries and the education office for books containing intern program information. Temporary agencies are also a great way to become familiar with a company or industry. Explore internship possibilities with private employers: Many companies have such programs but do not advertise them. Don’t necessarily turn down an interesting volunteer position. Volunteering increases your professional skills and can sometimes turn into a paid position. Phase Five: The Job Search How do I identify job requirements and prospective companies, find networks and placement agencies, and generally increase my knowledge and experience in the job market? How do I write a resume, develop leads, conduct an interview, and complete a job application?  Once you have selected your future career, you must now begin the challenge of finding work. Millions of people are hired all across the country every year. Employee turnover opens up existing positions, and entirely new jobs are created every day. Nevertheless, the job market is competitive. The best way to improve your odds is to play your best hand: Seek the opportunities for which you are best prepared. Work hard at finding a job. Network! The vast majority of jobs are filled by referrals, not the want ads. Use your network of friends, colleagues, and family; as well as the job listings provided by your installation’s Transition Office, the local personnel office, or even the nearest community college. Take advantage of job-hunting seminars, resume-writing workshops, and interviewing techniques classes too. Attend job fairs and talk to as many company representatives as possible. Phase Six: Selection How do I select the right job? Although it might be tempting, you do not have to take the first job that comes along. Consider the type of work, location, salary and benefits, climate, and how the opportunity will enhance your future career growth. Even if you take the first job offer, you are not necessarily locked into it. Some experts say employers are biased against hiring the unemployed. A shrewd move might be to look for a job from a job. Take a suitable position – and then quickly move on to a better one. Phase Seven: Support How do I make a smooth transition to a new career? For your transition to be truly successful, you should manage the personal affairs side of your career change with the same professionalism and care as your job search. Things like out-processing, relocation, financial management, taking care of your family, and coping with the inevitable stress are important too. Your ITP provides an opportunity to integrate these issues with the career-oriented activities that are the central focus of your transition effort. You are eligible for transition assistance for up to 180 days after your separation.

Student Loan Refunds for Troops and Veterans

Posted by Debi Teter
Sallie Mae is sending out nearly 80,000 checks to service members and veterans who took out student loans. According to a statement from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, $60 million in refunds are part of a settlement over inflated interest rates. The settlement came after the federal government filed suit against Navient Corp., formerly part of Sallie Mae, for violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which caps student loan interest rates for servicemembers at 6 percent. The lawsuit claimed that violations went back to 2005. Compensation will range from $10 to more than $100,000, with the average check being about $771. The size of the check depends on how long and by how much the interest rate exceeded 6 percent. The settlement includes Navient’s full range of student loans, including private loans, direct Department of Education loans, and loans that originated under the Federal Family Education Loan Program. Navient also agreed to request the three major credit bureaus delete negative credit history entries connected to the overcharges. If you are wondering about your eligibility for compensation, call (855) 382-6421.

In-Demand Civilian Jobs

Posted by Debi Teter
Transitioning servicemembers and military spouses take note: Your talents are needed. New data in ManpowerGroup’s 2015 Talent Shortage survey, a poll of 41,000 hiring managers from 42 countries, reveals that one in three U.S. employers currently have difficulty filling open positions because of talent shortages. The survey highlighted ten jobs for which employers report the largest gap between the number of  job openings and qualified candidates.  If you’re a job-seeking veteran or military spouse with demonstratable experience in any of these fields, highlight this experience on your resume and you’ll likely have the upper hand.  According to ManpowerGroup, the ten most in-demand civilian jobs are:
  • •  Skilled Trade Worker
  • •  Driver
  • •  Teacher
  • •  Sales Representative
  • •  Administrator
  • •  Management
  • •  Nurse
  • •  Technician
  • •  Accounting/Finance
  • •  Engineer

Use the Summer to Prepare for School

Posted by Debi Teter
Summer is in its full glory. With all the sunshine and snow cones around, it hardly seems possible that college is right around the corner. When college starts, it can be a pretty big upheaval if you’re not ready for it. There’s a new routine to follow, new people to meet and new horizons to be explored. This can be super exciting, or terrifying, or a combination of the two. Whether you’re about to start your first semester or your final year of college, make the transition from summer to fall by doing three things:
  1. Read, read, and read some more.  Your high school reading list may have been intense, but college level English literature  will probably require more reading and more frequent assignments.  Keep your brain nimble and prepare yourself for an increased workload by making reading a habit.  Your local library may have reading lists that you can peruse for ideas.  If you already have your class schedule, you could look for the syllabus or requirements and get a jump start on reading the course material.
  2. Practice managing your time.  This is less about managing activities down to the minute and more about learning how to prioritize, create a schedule and stick to it.  If you’ve played high school sports or participated in extracurricular activities like Model U.N,  – or if you’re returning to college after working or serving in the military – time management may be second nature to you.  If not, start small.  Set a couple of goals for yourself and manage your time accordingly to achieve them.  When you start classes in the fall, you’ll find it a little easier to keep your commitments and stay on top of your course load.
  3. Work.  If you worked during high school, or have served in the military, a summer job won’t be anything new to you.  But if you didn’t, or if you plan to work while you’re in college, summer employment (or internship) can be a great way to get used to managing a work schedule, saving, and budgeting your money.  Plus, it can help you explore career possibilities, make connections, or just save some cash for books.
The college experience is amazing, but there are some aspects that simply take some getting used to.  Make it easier on yourself by making some small adjustments now. What are some ways you’re preparing for college?  Let us know in the comments.

Odierno: More Women May Attend Army Ranger School

Posted by Debi Teter
women-in-army-ranger-schoolThe U.S. Army’s top officer said more female soldiers can attend the service’s elite Ranger School. Speaking to defense reporters in Washington, D.C. this week, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said the service will likely extend a pilot program to allow women to continue to attempt the grueling two-month Ranger course. “We’ll probably run a couple more pilots,” Odierno said, according to reports. “It’s been a real success for us, and we’ll see how it goes from there.” The Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade held its first co-ed Ranger course on April 20 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Nineteen women and 380 men were pre-screened for the combat training course. Three of the women failed to pass the Ranger Physical Fitness Assessment, a requirement to enter Ranger School. Eight out of 16 female soldiers completed the Ranger Assessment Phase, or RAP week, which consists of day and night land navigation, obstacle courses, skill tests and a 12-mile road march with a rifle, fighting load vest and rucksack weighing approximately 47 pounds. But the remaining women weren’t able to complete the first phase and advance to the second phase of the course. The eight female candidates, along with 101 male candidates, will be recycled to repeat the Darby Phase of Ranger School. “Ranger School is the Army’s toughest course, and this iteration is no exception,” Benning officials said in a press release. Ranger School is a punishing ordeal that many young infantry leaders, both officers and sergeants, are encouraged to complete. Only about half of the participants end up graduating.   #womeninthemilitary #armyrangers #rangerschool

Online Degree Options for Military Spouses

Posted by Debi Teter
You’ve sacrificed for your country, traveled to places beyond your imagination and dedicated your life to your job. And now you’ve decided that it’s time to make a change. Perhaps education is part of your plan, but you know that you will need to work, care for your growing family and go to school in order to make it happen. It’s a scheduling challenge, to be sure, but it’s not impossible. Exactly how is this supposed to work, you may be wondering? Two words: Online. Education. An online degree program gives you the structure of a degree program, deadlines to work against, and support from professors, advisors, and students – but puts you in the driver’s seat.  They’re a smart choice for many working adults because they offer the prestige of an accredited university along with the flexibility that online services provide plus they acquaint you with technology like video conferencing and shared workspaces that you will encounter in many workplaces. If this sounds like an option for you, consider these popular online degree programs.   Business Administration Looking for an entrance to the business world? Look no further than a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The Appeal: It’s the closest to a “jack-of-all-trades” degree you can find. The business administration degree provides a solid foundation in the basic building blocks of industry: finance, accounting, marketing and communication. These skills are what most employers seek, regardless of how the economy is performing. The Degree: The College Board, an academic group that administers exams like the SAT, says that a degree in business administration teaches students how to “plan, organize, direct, and control an organization’s activities.” The Career Potential: Anything from a personal financial advisor to a marketing research analyst can begin with a bachelor in business administration.   Accounting If numbers are your thing, check out a degree program in accounting to jump-start a successful career. The Appeal: When all is said and done, companies need someone who knows how to balance the books and pay the bills. This makes the tools of the accounting trade desirable now and for years to come. The Degree: Most accounting students learn about financial measurements and methodology, plus specialized areas like business law, government accounting, auditing and nonprofit financial performance. The Career Potential: The possibilities are extensive with an accounting degree. From tax examiner or auditor to analyst or accountant, this degree can prepare you for a number of careers with staying power.   Health Care Administration Thanks to the nearly indestructible baby boomers, a health care administration degree is a highly desirable asset. The Appeal: Health care service providers are gearing up to serve their communities, and with the numerous changes taking place in the medical insurance industry, there will likely continue to be a need for savvy administrators for the foreseeable future. The Degree: Health care administration majors learn all fathomable aspects of overseeing health care facilities.  According to the College Board, coursework can include health care law, ethics, aging, and long-term care. The Career Potential: This degree is a must-have if you want to be an executive administrator in the medical field, according to the U. S. Department of Labor.   Communications With the click of a mouse, any message can be delivered in virtually any media anywhere within seconds. If this fact fascinates you, you are not alone. This is why communications degrees are in demand. The Appeal: Organizations need people who know how to craft, distribute, and monitor messaging in order to both protect their brand and help grow it successfully. Degree Details: In addition to learning how to read, write and speak publicly, communication majors learn to deconstruct a media message and debate issues. The Career Potential: A bachelor’s degree in communications is one option to help you prep to pursue a public relations management position, according to the U. S. Department of Labor. You can also take a communications degree to get a job in marketing, advertising and marketing communications.   Computer Science To paraphrase Madonna, we live in a technological world.  If you’re tech-savvy and want to continue to adapt with the ever-changing times, a degree in computer science might give you the staying power you seek. The Appeal: Application and software development are going to continue to be needed as long as we continue to work and play on mobile devices. The Degree: Courses in computer science degree programs usually include programming in various “languages” as well as software design and user interaction. The Career Potential: Application and software developers, system administrators and technicians usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or in a related field.   Education Molding the next generation of thinkers and do-ers is a noble – and much needed – pursuit.   If this appeals to you, a bachelor’s degree in education could be the way to go. The Appeal: Baby boomers are beginning to exit the workforce, and their absence is not going to go unnoticed.  The need for strong teachers is perhaps more urgent than it has been in several years. The Degree: Education majors study curriculum theory, teaching strategies, special education needs, educational psychology, and practical issues like lesson plan design, school health, and safety issues. The Career Potential: To teach in a public school, you must have a license from the state plus a bachelor’s degree in education.

American Red Cross Services for Military Members and Families

Posted by Debi Teter
ARC-helps-military-families-during-disastersYou might know the American Red Cross as “those people who do the blood drives,” but like the military, they have a rich history of service. A national service organization for more than a century, the 700 locally-supported chapters of the American Red Cross has helped more than 15 million people each year people mobilize to help their neighbors. These volunteers learn valuable skills to prepare for and respond to emergencies in homes, communities, and around the world. In addition, almost four million people also donate blood each year through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross also maintains a strong commitment to serving all members of the military, whether active-duty, Guard, and Reserve service members or their immediate family members. They are an important resource for our service members and those they love. American Red Cross services for military members and their families include: Emergency communications Communicating important news with family members is one area the Red Cross supports. Whether it’s to share the birth of a child or the loss of a loved one, the immense worldwide network maintained by the Red Cross  helps keeps military personnel anywhere (including on ships at sea, at embassies, and in isolated military units)linked  with their loved ones. If you need to send an emergency message, contact the Red Cross and have the following information on hand:
  • service member’s full name, rank, Service branch, Social Security number, and military address
  • information about the deployed unit and the location of the rear detachment unit (for deployed service members only)
  • name, phone number, and relationship of person in the city or town where the emergency occurred (to provide more information if required)
  • name and contact number for hospital or funeral home to verify the emergency
  Social services and disaster assistance The Red Cross provides counseling, family support and help with VA appeals for service members and their families. There are some chapters that offer special courses or support groups for military families to help themselves and others deal with the psychological challenges of the deployment cycle.   Direct support to service members Red Cross staff members deploy overseas to provide direct emergency communications. In overseas locations, the Red Cross may offer respite from harsh conditions and bring a little bit of home to the troops by operating a twenty-four-hour canteen service with coffee, cold drinks, snacks, games, videos, and books. Red Cross teams also visit patients in clinics and hospitals.   Military family members who wish to volunteer with the Red Cross can also find opportunities such as:
  • positions as greeters, hospital guides, wheelchair escorts, patient chaperones, and pharmacy aids working at medical facilities in areas such as physical therapy, the emergency room, pediatrics, dermatology, and radiology
  • volunteer caseworker positions at Red Cross locations
  • a Dental Assistant Program (DENTAC) for training as a dental technician
  • pet-therapy volunteer positions to cheer up patients in military hospitals
  • blood donation center positions to assist with blood drives
  • disaster-response positions to provide relief support
  The American Red Cross is accessible in a number of ways:
  • Active-duty service members stationed in the US and their immediate family members may call the Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Service (AFES) Centers for help at any time 877-272-7337.
  • Members of the Guard and Reserve, retirees, and extended family members can access services through their local Red Cross Chapter, listed in local telephone directories and in the chapter directory.
  • Overseas personnel stationed on military installations may call installation operators or the on-installation Red Cross office.
  #AmericanRedCross #RedCross #MilitaryFamilies #Volunteer  

Army Veteran Noah Galloway In Final Four on DWTS

Posted by Debi Teter
Army-Veteran-Noah-Galloway-DWTSWould you ever think an Army veteran with a prosthetic leg and a missing arm would be a dancing champion? Well, Noah Galloway is close to earning that title. Galloway, who lost limbs from an IED while deployed in Iraq, is a semifinalist on the televised dance competition “Dancing With the Stars.” Galloway seems to be a fan favorite. He and his professional dancing partner, Sharna Burgess, do not get the best scores from the judging panel, but they earn a lot of votes from viewers. DWTS is shown on ABC. Performances are on Mondays at 8pm EST. Results of each week’s competition are on Tuesdays at 8pm EST. #DWTS #NoahGalloway #DancingVeteran #FeelGoodFriday Photo credit: ABC

New Initiative Matches Small Veteran-Owned Businesses with Large Corporations

Posted by Debi Teter
The Coalition for Veteran Owned Business, a collaboration between Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families and First Data Corp., has been launched as a way to put an estimated 2.5 million veteran- and military family-owned businesses into the supply chains of large corporations. The new business initiative that features some of the biggest companies in the country, including American Express, The Walt Disney Company and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and aims to connect veteran-owned small businesses with larger corporations. Veterans start small businesses at a higher rate than the general population but often aren’t as aware of private sector opportunities. The initiative is designed to put small businesses owned by veterans or military spouses into direct contact with larger corporations to sell products or services. The coalition will also offer entrepreneurial education and training. One goal is to indirectly improve veteran hiring by boosting veteran-owned businesses, which are more likely to hire former service members. Interested in owning your own business? Read a few steps to take today to get started.

Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Report Ignores Problems Says One Senator

Posted by Debi Teter

Last Friday the DoD issued the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office’ (SAPRO) annual report on sexual assaults and harassment in the military. The report showed that sexual assaults reported by military personnel numbered 6,131 in 2014, an increase of 11 percent over the previous year.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., isn’t satisfied saying the report fails to account for attacks on  military spouses and civilian women at bases nationwide.

“The more we learn, the worse the problem gets,” Gillibrand said in releasing an analysis by her office of limited data provided by the military on 107 cases at the Army’s Fort Hood in Texas, Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, the Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton in California and  Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Gillibrand’s review of the cases showed “a high prevalence of sexual assault against civilian women near bases and civilian spouses of service members — two survivor groups not counted in DoD prevalence surveys.” Gillibrand charged that military spouses and civilian women who live or work near military bases “remain in the shadows” because neither group is counted in the SAPRO reports. Gillibrand said that her office asked for all files pertaining to the investigation and adjudication of sexual assault cases from 2009 through 2013 at the four bases in February 2014 – Hood, Pendleton, Norfolk and Wright-Patterson. Instead, DoD only provided the 107 case files from 2013 at the four bases.

“These 107 files are a snapshot of the thousands of estimated cases that occur annually — the latest projection for 2014 alone is 20,000 cases of sexual assault and unwanted sexual contact,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

“What we’ve found are alarming rates of assault among two survivor groups not routinely counted in DoD surveys, survivors declining to move forward with their cases and very low conviction rates,” she said.

The Pentagon released a statement in response saying: “The department does not have standing authority to survey non-DoD civilian populations. However, federal surveys have found that the prevalence of sexual assault for non-DoD civilian women is statistically the same for military women and female spouses of military members.” In response to Gillibrand’s charges on underreporting, Laura Seal, a DoD spokesperson, said that the trends in the DoD report showed that in FY2014 there were “indications of increased confidence in our military justice system. Reporting is up: We estimate that one in 10 military victims reported in FY2012, and one in four military victims reported in FY2014.”