by Tech. Sgt. Raymond Mills
JBER Public Affairs
12/10/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Stress, worry, anxiety.
These are symptoms associated with retiring or separating from the
military, but the transition to the civilian workforce doesn't have to
be an overwhelming ordeal. For service members who are separating, the
Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program on Joint Base
Elmendorf-Richardson is available to provide a helping hand during their
SFL-TAP provides information, training and tools to successfully
navigate the rigors associated with civilian employment and education.
"SFL-TAP is very important, because it helps create a plan for Soldiers
and Airmen who are transitioning to shift their mindset from the
military to the civilian," said Pua Naluai, SFL-TAP career counselor.
"The biggest part is planning what they want to do and how to get there
whether it's going to school or finding a job. We offer a lot of classes
to prepare for that step."
Although SFL-TAP offers a variety of classes from résumé writing to
financial readiness, part of the training that is particularly helpful
in preparing members transitioning to the civilian workforce is
According to the Toastmasters International website, their organization
helps members improve skills by regularly giving speeches, gaining
feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a
"The Toastmasters program is for anybody who wants to improve their
communication and leadership skills," said Maj. Raul Rovira, U.S. Army
Alaska. "Toastmasters specifically targets public communication and
When transitioning to the civilian sector, potential employees will
brave interviews before getting hired. During the interview process,
perspective employees want to appear cool, calm and collected. The
Toastmasters portion of the course teaches verbal skills which improve
confidence and and better prepares candidates to articulate their
During the class, students engage in various verbal exercises that
remove them from their comfort zone. The goal is to evaluate the
speaker's ability and provide positive feedback so the person can learn
from and improve upon their mistakes.
Rovira pointed out it is better to make mistakes in a non-threatening
environment with a group of people who are there to help than to do so
during a real interview. "Toastmasters changed how I look at public
speaking," said Sgt. James Hurst, an assistant team leader, 3rd
Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team
(Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. "This is one of the better classes I
have attended at the SFL-TAP, because it includes valuable information
such as interview techniques, talking to people and overall
interactions. I would highly recommend this class to anybody who wants
to do anything outside of the military."
Although the program is Soldier oriented, the JBER SFL-TAP provides assistance to Soldiers and Airmen.
SFL-TAP is a mandatory program for Soldiers that follows a pre-separation timeline.
Soldiers are encouraged to visit the SFL-TAP website to learn about
specific requirements, as well as a range of available resources that
will assist them during their transition.
Retiring personnel should register for SFL-TAP 12 to 24 months prior to
their transition, while those finishing their term of service should
begin 12 to 18 months prior to their separation date.