Programs help transition to civilian life seamless

14 Aug 2013 | Lance Cpl. Joshua W. Grant

The Marine For Life and Personal and Professional Development programs help service members find the tools to draw their civilian career roadmaps.

Any Marine leaving active service, either through retirement or separation, is eligible to use the programs offered for career advancement.

Marines shouldn’t wait to utilize these programs, said Lt. Col. Jerard Brewer, district officer in charge for the Marine For Life program. Thirty to 90 days until their end of active service is not enough time to start the process. Brewer recommends Marines start 12 months before their end of active service.

“There’s an entire command section dedicated to helping service members with the transition, but service members don’t always make the connection,” said Brewer.

The Transition Readiness Seminar is a mandatory week-long program designed to help transitioning service members decide on a pathway for life after retirement or separation from service. Marines learn about education and career opportunities, technical training, employment and entrepreneurship.

The Montgomery and Post 9/11 GI Bills along with Tuition Assistance provide financial options for education, while regionally accredited institutions provide resources needed for career training and employment.

Individuals exiting the Marine Corps will be asked to provide Personal and Professional Development a résumé, said Brewer. He added individuals should start it now, and continue to update as they progress in the Marine Corps.

Résumé building is offered through transition readiness seminars. Advisors provide individuals with a step by step process, and also serve as the link between service members and the Marine For Life program. They help Marines find work and mentors in every job field to assist service members transitioning into the civilian work force.

The seminar was extremely effective in helping make the transition, said David RestoCruz, who separated from the Marine Corps as a sergeant with more than seven years experience as an embarkation specialist.

“It gave me all the tools needed to put together a perfect résumé,” said RestoCruz. “With the help from TRS and the résumé building, it got me the job I have now as an assistant manager at Sam’s Club.”

Job fairs and expositions also assist Marines and sailors with the networking needed to continue a successful career after retirement from service.

“The Marine For Life program may not have someone in a specific job a service member is looking for, but we have a contact that has the information,” said Brewer.

“The best thing a Marine or sailor can do is to visit the Personal and Professional Development staff aboard their installation,” said Shawn Conlon, Personal and Professional Development branch head.  “Let the advisors guide you through a personal assessment that will help you identify your values, interests and skills to define what the next step will be.”

For more information on Personal and Professional Development call 449-9713 or contact Bill Mottley for appointments with transition readiness advisors at 451-4260.

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