Thirty seconds: Airmen on TAP

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Stuart
  • 86 Airlift Wing Public Affairs
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, GERMANY-- Floor by floor, you await your stop on an elevator. A man in a suit, carrying a briefcase enters the elevator. After a few seconds, you notice the company he works for on his briefcase. You're looking for a job and you want to be able to sell yourself before this man leaves the elevator. How do you do it? What do you say to show him you're the perfect fit for the job?

The Transition Assistance Program is for Airmen to learn how to transition from service members to civilians. Here on Ramstein, the Airman & Family Readiness Center offers this informative class, a few times a month. The class is mandatory for all Airmen whether they are separating or retiring. Prior to taking the class, all enrolled must first attend a pre-separation briefing.

About 1,000 Airmen complete TAP annually on Ramstein. Due to the recent dramatic influx of Airmen trying to enroll in TAP, the A&FRC has decided to increase the number of Airmen allowed to enroll in the class. Currently, 28 Airmen are allowed to enroll in each class, but for one week during the months of February, March, June and August, 50 Airmen will be permitted to enroll.

"Everyone is pretty anxious with the force reduction programs out right now and are taking precaution before their fate is decided," stated Terry Wise, the 86th Force Support Squadron A&FRC community readiness consultant.

In the first two days of TAP, Airmen receive briefings from the military personnel flight, mental health, finance, customs and legal. Preparing a budget and reducing debt are two of the most vital topics covered in the first two days. There are two certified financial counselors in the A&FRC available to answer any questions the Airmen might have.

"Transitioning from a military lifestyle to a civilian one can be stressful and the TAP class armed me with information I will need in the next stage of my life," said Airman 1st Class Aaron-Forrest Wainwright, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs photojournalist.

The Department of Labor Workshop, is held the last three days of TAP. Some topics covered are dressing for success, interview skills, resume writing and a 30 second elevator speech. If someone walks in the elevator and you find out they're a hiring manager, you need to know how to show them you are worth hiring in 30 seconds or less.

"Being able to sell themselves is usually everyone's biggest challenge," said Wise. "Learning how to speak without using Air Force jargon is one thing Airmen have to get used to as well."

It's the instructor's aim to help Airmen prepare themselves for the civilian job market without hopelessly hopping from job to job. On average, it takes about five to eight months for an individual to find a good job once they separate or retire.

"The best time to look for a job is when you already have one," said Wise.