For decades, service members have trudged into offices for presentations on potential careers after they separate from the military as part of the Transition Assistance Program, or TAP. It's a rite of passage that was meant to help combat what have been stubbornly high unemployment rates for veterans.
But many veterans and their advocates are frustrated with the program, viewing it as insufficient to help transitioning troops and inadequately supported by commanders who often see it as a box-checking exercise and fail to allocate enough time for departing service members to learn much. Among their top complaints: TAP provides too much information in too little time and often pushes troops to pursue outside resources.
“It's the job of the military to help you support the military. It's not to get you out and put you into a civilian career and help you figure out who you want to be when you take that uniform off,” said Mike Greenwood, an Army veteran who now runs veterans services at the COMMIT Foundation. “Their commitment to you ends when you walk out the door.”
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Greenwood sat through TAP classes himself in late 2006 and early 2007 but felt that instructors were pushing him toward trade jobs when he wanted to be a banker.
Given the stark differences between military and civilian life and workforces, TAP is supposed to…