Career Readiness Standards set to prepare Soldiers for civilian careers
The spark ignited November 21, 2012 with the implementation of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act. A year later, the revitalized Army Transition Program is operating at full throttle with a completely re-designed, robust and intuitive program. Transition efforts are an enduring process. Further implementation standards and requirements are on the horizon.
The Army has changed the way it transitions Soldiers by developing the products needed to support the objective of preparing Soldiers for life after Active Duty. Part of the change was enhancing the counseling, curriculum, training, information, and resources necessary to meet Career Readiness Standards (CRS). So what are Career Readiness Standards and why are they important to a successful transition?
Career Readiness Standards are a Department of Defense set of mandated requirements to prepare Soldiers with the knowledge, tools, and skills needed to achieve their individual transition goals. All Soldiers must meet CRS prior to their transition date on their DD Form 214. The requirements for completion are:
- Preseparation Counseling (DD For 2648/1)
- Individual Transition Plan
- VA Benefits Briefing I & II
- VA eBenefits registration and MyHealtheVet registration
- The Department of Labor (DOL) Employment Workshop - DOL Gold card
- 12-month post-service budget
- Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) Crosswalk with completion of Gap Analysis
- Complete a job application package including: a private or federal resume, references, and two submitted job applications or a job offer letter
- Documented continued Military Service opportunity via The United States Army Reserve (USAR) or Army Reserve National Guard (ARNG) — this applies to only Active Component Soldiers
- Complete an individual assessment tool
- Capstone event with DD Form 2958
- Education and Technical Track
- (In accordance with your Individual Transition Plan)
- Assessment to identify aptitudes, interest, strengths, and skills
- Comparison of academic or training institution of choice
- College, university, or technical training application or acceptance letter
- Confirmation of one-on-one counseling with a college, university, or technical institution advisor or counselor
Now that we have defined what CRS is and what each of those individual standards are, it is important to understand the value each bring to the overall success of a transitioning.
Preseparation Counseling is the first step and it begins with The Army Career and Alumni Program. A counselor introduces the Soldier to the benefits and services they are eligible to receive. This counseling session is also where the Soldier begins their DD Form 2648/1.
The Individual Transition Plan (ITP) is the key to success for any education, training or employment objectives the Soldier may plan or wish to pursue. It is also a framework used to set and achieve realistic goals based upon the Soldier’s unique skills, knowledge, experience and abilities. The ITP helps identify actions and activities associated with transition then organizes those activities into manageable tasks. It also helps establish a timeline for completing the activities you select.
Veteran’s Affairs Benefits Briefings I & II is a comprehensive workshop that informs transitioning Soldiers of their veteran benefits options. During these briefings the Soldier will also learn about registering for eBenefits and MyHealtheVet.
The Department of Labor Employment Workshop includes assessment services, creating an individualized plan, career guidance and resume building, and job and training referrals. Soldiers are also informed on how to obtain a Department of Labor Gold Card.
Development of a 12-month post–service budget is achieved by attending the Financial Planning Workshop. A Financial Planning counselor will provide the information and tools needed to identify financial responsibilities, obligations, and goals after transitioning from the military.
The MOS Crosswalk translates military skills, training, and experience into civilian related skills and jobs. Understanding how military skills translate to the civilian sector will benefit Soldiers immensely in their employment search or provide a path to seek further education. The Gap Analysis is the required product documenting this crosswalk.
A job application package is paramount in achieving transition success. Soldiers will create a resume of choice either Federal or civilian, develop a reference list and produce two submitted job applications or you will present a job offer letter to their counselor or commander.
The Department of Defense mandates all active component Servicemembers are provided the opportunity to continue service with the USAR or ARNG and it is documented as part of the Career Readiness Standards.
The final quality control check in ensuring all CRS are met is completing the capstone event. This signifies the Soldier has met the requirements and has received the tools needed for transition success.
In essence, Career Readiness Standards help prepare a Soldier for success after Active Duty. The Army supports this initiative by providing nearly 700 counselors and staff world-wide at 71 locations and a 24/7 Virtual Center (www.acap.army.mil / 800.325.4215) allowing Soldiers to participate in the transition process or speak to a live counselor anytime from anywhere. Finally, to better connect Soldiers to employers, the Army encourages Soldiers to utilize Hero 2 Hired (www.h2h.jobs) for potential employment opportunities.