Sailors and Marines attend a Transition GPS pilot program resume class at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on Aug. 15, 2012. (Terri Moon Cronk)
With veterans still facing economic headwinds upon leaving the service, the Navy is rolling out an overhauled and longer transition course this year that offers sailors help to reach their personal post-Navy goals.
The five-day course, Transition Goals Plans Success, known as Transition GPS, requires anyone leaving the Navy with more than 180 days on active duty to attend, according to NAVADMIN 053/13, the Feb. 28 message released by the chief of naval personnel that announced the changes. Even personnel being kicked out via administrative separation must attend. Reservists returning to a civilian job and retiring sailors will be allowed to skip the employment workshop portion, which accounts for three days of the core program. On top of the five-day core program, there is an added option to take one of three two-day courses specific to your post-Navy goals, according to Navy Installations Command, which oversees the Navy’s program.
The higher-education track provides advice about selecting a college and offers tips on getting the most out of your GI Bill benefits; sailors in this track will complete an application to the college of their choice.
The technical training option focuses on helping sailors launch a vocational career by evaluating their skills and assisting them in applying to a technical school in their chosen field.
And for those who want to launch their own business, there is a track that will help them develop a successful business plan. Added bonus: Your spouse can attend any of these courses with you.
With unemployment among post-9/11 vets still higher than the national average — 9.4 percent compared with 8.1 percent — the new course offers more robust training to help sailors and their families adjust to civilian life. It focuses on financial preparedness, stress management and family issues. There is also an entire workshop dedicated to helping each sailor translate his military skills into a sharp résumé.
As part of the course, every attendee will develop a viable separation plan. It will include your personal and professional goals, your housing and transportation needs and a yearlong budget that funds them. Each sailor’s plan will be enhanced and verified at a seminar-format “capstone event” during or after the course. Your counselor and command will then sign off on your transition plan, which will become a requirement by the end of this year.
The new course is more involved than the old one and, if you opt for the additional two-day course, will require seven working days away from your command. Work with your chain of command to schedule your class early — especially before an upcoming deployment. “Proactive planning will be required to ensure members attend Transition GPS before deployment or are released from deployment early enough to attend prior to separation,” wrote Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk in the naval message. Retiring sailors may attend Transition GPS up to two years before, and separating sailors may go up to a year out. You also may attend the course up to 90 days after you leave the Navy, if you didn’t get the chance to take it before.