By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (July 27, 2009) -- Injured Soldiers looking to transition back to civilian life have long been able to start with the Army Career and Alumni Program -- but for wounded warriors who didn't know that, ACAP recently rolled out a virtual welcome mat to remind them.
In June, the Army Career and Alumni Program added a wounded warrior "path" to their Web site. The new path is designed to help wounded Soldiers make the transition from life in uniform to life as a civilian through education, information and counseling.
"Wounded Soldiers have always been able to go to ACAP," said Chief Warrant Officer Linda Wellman, the deputy to the director of the Army Career and Alumni Program. "But until now, there's been no special outreach toward wounded warriors. The new path specifies how ACAP can be helpful to them when it's time to transition to civilian life. It also lets them know that we're available to help family members also."
Wellman said ACAP can help wounded Soldiers find jobs with employers specifically looking to hire wounded Soldiers, for instance.
"We have a Web site for those employers who have said they'd like to hire wounded warriors, and who have asked how they can get connected with them," Wellman said. "That Web site connection is through the wounded warrior path."
Wellman said in the past, she understood that some wounded Soldiers might not have known that the benefits of ACAP were for all Soldiers. The addition of a "Wounded Warrior" path to the ACAP Web site is meant to address that misconception.
"If I'm a Soldier in a wheelchair, I might think that ACAP is only working with guys in the infantry -- and that they can't help me get a job," she said. "That's not true. Any person who has worn a uniform and is leaving the Army can benefit from the services at ACAP, from a two-star general to a private."
The ACAP program also works with the Army Wounded Warrior Program, better known as AW2, and the Warrior Transition Units to ensure that wounded Soldiers know about the services ACAP provides and that it is available to them.
"If a wounded warrior has hooked up with AW2, their career counselor will direct them back to ACAP to get help with their résumé," Wellman said, adding that ACAP has counselors in about 20 Soldier Family Assistance Centers around the Army.
The Army Career Alumni Program has been around for nearly 20 years now, and exists to help Soldiers transition into civilian life. The program helps Soldiers with interviewing skills, "dressing for success," and learning to translate what they've done in the military into language that will impress civilian employers on a résumé.