Program offers clear path for separating Sailors

Program offers clear path for separating Sailors

by Wm. Cullen James
Navy Personnel Command PAO

There is a rhythm to Navy service. You wake up at a certain time. You wear a certain uniform. You perform certain tasks. These things are givens and over the course of a career, they can become defining characteristics. So, what happens once that career comes to an end; how does a Sailor jump to civilian life?

The answer is with Transition GPS (Goals, Plans, Success). The program was created in response to the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act. It is mandatory and provides a variety of pre-separation assistance for separating Sailors. According to Tom Albert, management analyst, Navy Family Readiness office, Transition GPS is a five-day workshop that assists Sailors in making the transition to civilian life.

“There are career readiness standards — a common core that has to be met,” Albert said. “We want to see that you have a budget, are prepared to take care of your family, that you’ve done an assessment of your certifications and skills. It benefits you to make sure you’re ready to apply to the civilian workforce.”

Before the workshop, there are prerequisites. Pre-separation assessment and counseling is mandatory, but Albert suggests that Sailors also have a budget worked out and post-military goals set. “We have set up career readiness standards. Whether your goal is employment or education, we have standards in place to help you succeed,” Albert said.

After taking care of the prerequisites, Sailors can attend the Transition GPS workshop which includes Veterans Affairs benefits briefings, financial planning support, a Department of Labor job search skills building workshop and more. Each Sailor develops an Individual Transition Plan and has that plan assessed during a capstone event. The capstone occurs no less than 90 days prior to separation/retirement, although, according to Albert, Sailors can do this earlier.

“Sailors can go through the course 12 months out if they want to and can also access the Transition GPS virtual curriculum on Joint Knowledge Online (JKO - any time after that for a refresher,” Albert said. Additionally, the JKO virtual courses offer smart phone applications.

For more information, visit the Navy Personnel Command Transition Assistance website at

Transition GPS for the Reserves

From Office of the Chief of Naval Reserve

Navy Reserve Sailors, mobilized or serving on Active Duty over 180 days, attend Transition GPS as they are demobilizing or deactivating. While many Selected Reserve Sailors previously attended Transition Assistance Program (TAP), the Transition GPS contains updated and useful information to help in the return to the civilian sector including education, entrepreneurial, or employment assistance. In particular, the Veteran’s Affairs brief contains new and additional information on benefits that are available to Sailors through their service in the Navy Reserve. While transition to or continuing Navy Reserve service can be one aspect of a successful transition from military to civilian life, Transition GPS contains tools to help whether a Sailor is going through their first transition or fifth.  

Navy Installations Command Keeps Transition GPS Running

From Commander, Navy Installations Command

To prepare for the new Transition GPS, Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) installed the Department of Defense (DOD) standardized model across the Navy. This was done by completing site readiness assessments of the Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSCs) that were designated to deliver Transition GPS.

Currently, CNIC has installed at FFSC transition sites around the fleet wi-fi, delivered 2,457 netbooks, 81 printers, 114 barcode scanners, audiovisual equipment, 313 tables and 847 chairs to support the optimum class attendance of 50 participants.

CNIC has also incorporated Navy-specific information into the Transition GPS participant guides which included bridging Navy ratings to civilian careers and financial planning. More than 83,500 guides were shipped to centers around the Navy.

Before all of this was complete, CNIC sent out training teams throughout the Navy to ensure the FFSC staff was up ready to execute the training giving Sailors the options and information they would need to be successful once they returned to civilian life.

Once the program was in place and running CNIC hosted Transition GPS training events that included Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force leadership as guest speakers on topics including Navy’s Transition GPS curriculum review and delivery model and speakers from the Defense Manpower Data Center Transition Assistance to Civilian Life database, Fleet and Family Support Management Information System, Veteran’s Affairs Benefits Briefs, Technical Training Track and Capstone events to provide training on challenges and opportunities pertaining to Transition GPS.

The capstone event is designed to evaluate a Servicemember’s preparedness to successfully transition to a civilian career and whether Career Readiness Standards (CRS) are met. This enables the FFSC and/or commands to conduct group or one-on-one events by the transition staff at the supporting FFSC, or by the Career Transition Officer (CTO).

To ensure the program improves and stays on track with changing technology and regulations, CNIC established the Region Coordinating Group (RCG) in collaboration with the Region Work and Family Life Coordinators to develop and enhance continuous improvement of Work and Family Life Programs.

Moreover, the council provides a platform to leverage collective experience affecting the administrative, operational, and strategic planning of our program(s) delivery across the Navy.

For more information about the Navy’s Transition Assistance Program, visit

For helpful information on transitioning out of the military, read the full text of the Fall 2013 Transition Guide here.

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