The Department of Labor is offering free employment assistance for vets and spouses

Miguel Ortiz Avatar

The Hon. James D. Rodriguez, Dept. of Labor Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy for Veteran's Employment and Training Services meets with transitioning Sailors that have attended the Fleet and Family Support Program's transition assistance program. The Assistant Secretary also observed the employment and education portions of the course. (U.S. Navy photo by Krishna "Krash" Jackson, NBSD Public Affairs)

Just like getting into the military, there are a number of steps and tasks that must be completed to get out. One of these is the Department of Labor Transition Assistance Program. While TAP may seem like just another obstacle between you and your DD-214, the classes offered contain some very useful information to help make your transition to the civilian world a successful one. The DOL remains committed to reducing the veteran unemployment rate, down from 6.5% in 2020 to 3.3% in 2021, with a variety of these classes to suit the different needs of transitioning service members.

TAP offers valuable information to transitioning service members (DOL)

Not everyone wants to do the same thing when they get out. To address this, the DOL offers classes like Employment Fundamentals, Employment Workshop, Career Credential Exploration, Boots 2 Business, and Managing My Education under the TAP. While there is a minimum number of classes needed to complete the program, there’s nothing preventing you from taking them all. In fact, while you’re still collecting pay, it would be best to take as many as you can. Taking advantage of the DOL’s curriculum will give you an advantage over your civilian counterparts in the job market.

Some TAP classes are available to spouses, but TEAMS is designed specifically for them (DOL)

To further their commitment to veteran employment, the DOL is now offering additional courseware for veterans as well as active duty service members and their spouses. Off Base Transition Training extends TAP to veterans, including those in the Reserve and National Guard, and their spouses. If you didn’t pay attention in your TAP classes when you separated, OBTT can help refresh your memory and prepare you for the next step in your career. For those that did pay attention, the new program provides enhanced and updated materials to help you on your search for employment. Meanwhile, the Transitioning Employment Assistance for Military Spouses extends TAP specifically to military spouses and caregivers.

Both workshops provide quick, down and dirty topical information in manageable two and four-hour chunks. If you are unable to make the workshops due to the times, check out the participant guides provided online. These guides are full of the information that will be presented in the workshops as well as activities that align with the class topic. For those currently transitioning and wanting additional information and resources, these guides are a great resource.

The OBTT courses for veteran and TEAMS courses for military spouses are available online with registration through WebEx. Some of the veterans courses are in-person. These are the courses that are offered:

Your Next Move: This course is offered for both OBTT and TEAMS and helps participants walk their way through their next steps, exploring careers and utilizing Labor Market Information.

Career Credentials (TEAMS only): This course walks through the credentialing process and explores additional careers and pathways as a military spouse.

Resumé workshops: OBTT offers two courses: Understanding Resume Essentials and a Writing Workshop. TEAMS offers one all-encompassing resume workshop. These workshops break down how to write a resume to include the pre-writing work that needs to be done to create an effective resume as well as insight into what employers are looking for.

Marketing yourself: This has different names under OBTT and TEAMS, but similarly walks participants through how to appropriately and professionally market themselves for the jobs they are seeking.

Interview Skills: This course is available under both OBTT and TEAMS. If you need help with how to interview, answering questions, dressing for the interview or the steps in an interview, this is the workshop for you.

Federal Hiring: Both spouses and veterans may be eligible for hiring preference and different hiring paths. This workshop will break down how federal hiring occurs, determine if you are eligible for preference or particular hiring paths, and provide crucial need-to-know insight before you press the “apply” button.

LinkedIn Profiles: If you are not on LinkedIn, you are not marketing yourself correctly. Both spouses and veterans can benefit immensely from this social network. Take this workshop to see what needs to go into your profile to make it effective by branding yourself, attracting recruiters, and building your network.

LinkedIn Job Search: Once you have your LinkedIn profile created, this workshop will help you utilize the platform during the job search process. Spouses and veterans can see how LinkedIn can make it much easier and effective when finding their next job.

Salary Negotiation: In this workshop, spouses and veterans learn how to understand their worth, the complete job offer, walk through its value, and gain resources for how to best negotiate and what to negotiate for.

Employment Rights (OBTT only): This workshop walks veterans through employee rights to include laws and protection in the workplace, asking and providing reasonable accommodations, illegal interview questions, and how to be an advocate for themselves.