New transition center helps soldiers in Kuwait with post-Army life
By HENDRICK SIMOES | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 23, 2013
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — The center isn’t even complete yet, but a new Army Career and Alumni Program Center is open for business here for soldiers separating from the military.
ACAP centers provide transitioning active-duty, reserve or National Guard soldiers with benefits counseling and employment transition services such as resume writing and interview workshops.
The need for a center in Kuwait derived from fact that at least some of the 13,000 servicemembers serving in Kuwait — mostly soldiers — will be leaving the service. ACAP centers assist soldiers within two years of retirement or one year of separating.
“You tell them I’m interested in being a teacher, and getting an apprenticeship and they will go find the information ... as well as what they can do to get you into the program,” said Spc. David Hunt, who is currently deployed in Kuwait. Hunt will be returning to the U.S. in late February or early March, and will separate in April. He hopes to become a teacher, and at the center, he found there are numerous programs to get him to that goal.
Sgt. Barry Shapiro is also leaving the military in April. “The time line is pretty short,” he said. Without the ACAP center, it would potentially mean sacrificing his terminal leave once he gets back to the U.S. to get the information he gets here.
“It relieves some of that transitional stress,” said Shapiro. “When I get back I’m not wondering how I am going to put a resume together, or what is my strategy going to be,” he added. “This ultimately means I can do my job up to the last minute, get out and be ready and prepared to go to work.”
“I think it provides a little extra security to the soldier knowing that even though he is in a deployed setting, he’s able to get the same services he would be able to get back home,” said Kish Hamilton, a counselor at the center who has been helping Shapiro and Hunt.
Hunt said he enjoys the one-on-one counseling. The counselors have been helping him put together a plan to become a teacher.
“They are helping me get there” and “put together a result,” said Hunt.
For Hunt, being able to get counseling while deployed instead of in the hustle back home of transitioning out, has meant actually trying to “understand the benefits as opposed to just knowing they exist.”