Transition GPS workshop navigates Soldiers towards the next career
CAMP ZAMA, Japan - Twenty-one Soldiers and one spouse participated in a five-day Transition Goals, Plans and Success Workshop held Jan. 25-29 for the first time at the Camp Zama Education Center to prepare for their separation from Army life.
Alice Anesgart, Retirement Transition Services manager, Camp Zama Transition Center, said that before Soldiers would have to travel to other military bases in the area for the same workshop.
In trying to meet the demands of the service members' station at Camp Zama, "the right thing to do was to bring the workshop here," said Anesgart.
The purpose of this workshop; which will be provided quarterly from this point on, is to help Soldiers be more skilled job seekers, said Anesgart.
Subject-Matter-Experts covered topics from Veterans Affairs benefits, job searching, interviewing, resume writing, stress management and financial planning during the workshop.
Soldiers sat down with their comrades - talked, bonded and worked on resumes together during the five day workshop, said Anesgart.
To outgoing Soldiers and Family Members, Anesgart strongly recommended the importance of starting the process early.
"You are authorized to start the process two years out when retiring or a year out when reaching your ETS," said Anesgart.
Sgt. 1st Class Russell Minto, assigned to 901st Military Police Detachment, said he was worried about his upcoming retirement.
"It was very bothersome to know that I will be getting out and I will be unemployed," said Minto; however, the facilitators looked over our resumes, told us what we need to do and how to put things together - "which many of us haven't done ever or at least not for a very long time."
Attending the workshop gave Mino "a boost of confidence," and he said he feels better about his chances to find future employment.
After experiencing the workshop, Mino said he wish he had started planning for retirement earlier - "Start planning early, start preparing early!"
Command Sgt. Maj. Patrina Amos, command sergeant major of 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, said she is undecided as to where and what she wants to do after the Army.
"I started the week very overwhelmed," said Amos.
Participating in the practical exercises; mock interviews; writing resumes; getting feedback and critiques, Amos said the facilitators helped her do the cross-walk between her military skills and how they correlates to the Civilian workforce.
"I learn how much information and resources are available to me as a veteran," said Amos.
The best part about the workshop was the interaction between the Soldiers going through the transition process like herself.
A workshop such as Transition GPS should be Soldier driven and command supported, said Amos.
The key is to start early, go to the transition center often, and stay on track with the process because every Soldier's transition is an individual transition said Amos.
"It is critical that commands support the process and it is just as critical that the individual Soldier takes responsibility for their part of the process."
The Army is definitely placing an investment on every individual Soldier by making sure this type of assistance is available, said Amos, by ensuring Soldiers do their part, to be ready to be employed after they transition.
"I actually feel less scary," said Amos, and she said she would highly recommend for anyone transitioning to attend such a workshop.