Fort Meade: Retired Marine lands a job with help from transition program [Maryland Gazette (MD)]
(Maryland Gazette (MD) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) After 20 years with the Marine Corps, Hank Brown decided to work for an entrepreneurial company. A retired lieutenant colonel, Brown sought independence with the challenge of merit-based pay. He was successful in achieving his goal, in part, due to his completion of Fort Meade's Executive Transition Assistance Program Workshop and the Navy's Transition Assistance Program a little more than a year ago.
After 20 years with the Marine Corps, Hank Brown decided to work for an entrepreneurial company.
A retired lieutenant colonel, Brown sought independence with the challenge of merit-based pay.
He was successful in achieving his goal, in part, due to his completion of Fort Meade's Executive Transition Assistance Program Workshop and the Navy's Transition Assistance Program a little more than a year ago.
He is now the managing director for the Washington, D.C., office of CAI, a medium-sized, privately-owned information technology solutions company based in Pennsylvania.
ETAP and TAP are open to military personnel of all service branches. ETAP is targeted to ranks E-8, E-9, W-4, W-5 and O-5 and above.
TAP is offered to soldiers with more than 180 days of continuous active-duty service and their families.
The programs provide pre-separation counseling, employment assistance, relocation assistance, education and training, and information about health, life insurance and finances.
Both programs arm service members with skills and knowledge to meet their professional goals after retirement or separation.
Brown enrolled in Fort Meade's ETAP because the Navy/Marine Corps did not offer a similar program on the installation.
"The vast majority of our service members enter the military directly from high school or college. For the duration of their military service, they tend to largely focus on achieving the mission," said George Matthews, Fort Meade's transition services manager.
"TAP is extremely important in helping service members transition because it exposes them to all the benefits, services and contact points that can significantly increase their transition success. ... Most service members only separate once, therefore there's no track record of experience in knowing how to execute this action. TAP provides the tools that enable members to successfully navigate this critically important journey." Matthews said Brown was successful in transitioning to the private sector partly because he was focused and he began the process early.
Eighteen months before his projected retirement, Brown started the process with Countess Simiyu, the contractor installation manager at the Army Career and Alumni Program Center at Fort Meade's Transition Services Program.
Fifteen months out, he enrolled in ETAP and, at the six-month mark, he enrolled in the Navy's TAP at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
A congressional mandate requires all military members to start TAP at least one year prior to separation/retirement. However, end- of-term-of-service members may start the process two years from separation. Potential retirees may start the process during their 18th year of service.
Matthews said, unfortunately, many service members do not start a year ahead of time due to several assumptions that are not true. They incorrectly believe they must first have orders to retire or separate and that they must file for retirement. In addition, many ETS military members assume that if they start TAP, they will be compelled to separate.
Brown said he thought about his future goals before enrolling in TAP, and knew he wanted to continue to serve.
"Through a good amount of self-study and mentoring, I determined that independence was the most important criteria to me," he said. "TAP helped me identify my goals and set the course to achieve them." Brown said he refined his resume, updated his wardrobe and interviewing skills, and made an effort to seek out professional mentors and contacts through networking.
"I think that some people who transition out of the military think that their perceived merit to a potential employer will be assumed because of their military service, or it will be accepted because of their qualifications on paper," Brown said. "Written qualifications might be necessary to 'open doors,' but I think for most leaders in the civilian workforce, trust is the No. 1 qualification, followed by talent and work ethic." Brown said while the military selects candidates for important positions based on their performance record, civilians hire candidates who are "personally known, personally proven and personally trusted," he said. "The trust that is implicit in the military is not assumed on the outside." Brown said veterans, armed with ETAP and TAP and their own personal initiative and hard work, can successfully transition to a job at a similar or higher level than they had in the military.
(c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
Joseph Maxwell of Parlance
ITEXPO Florida 2016 Interview with Dialogic