- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 5, 2006

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

It is important for military service members to remember that the great training they receive on active duty can translate into college credits and other marketable skills when they transition to civilian life and start that all-important job search.

Military members accomplish a great many things while serving our nation. They acquire superb technical training and develop many other important job skills. In addition, they have served as great leaders and managers.

Unfortunately, many service members may not realize that they can be awarded college credit as a result of their military training and experience. For service members who have college aspirations, in particular, there are several tools that have been designed to help make the transition easier and more rewarding.

There is also branch-specific credentialing available. A valuable tool for all military personnel is the VMET, or Verification of Military Experience and Training. This document is a compendium of experience gained as a result of a service member’s Military Occupational Specialty, Air Force Specialty Code, rating, training and experience. The VMET helps a service member cross over his or her skills into the civilian equivalent job titles and industry standards. A printed copy of the VMET can be obtained any time by going to https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/vmet.



Sincerely,

Charles S. Ciccolella, assistant secretary

Veterans’ Employment and Training Service

Dear Chick:

I was pleased to join you on a recent visit to the transition center at Fort Myer. I was very impressed with the military’s preparation of these fine young men and women as they leave the military for civilian vocations. I urge all those who are leaving the military to take advantage of the educational opportunities that you have highlighted.

Shaft notes

cMaryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr’s. proposed operating budget for fiscal 2007 included a military retirement tax-exemption bill retroactive to 2005.

The Republican governor said: “It is unfair to our veterans to penalize them for what should have happened last year. Accordingly, since the legislature appears to be willing to take credit and do it this year, we will insist that it be retroactive to the year in which it should have been enacted in the first place.”

We need to redouble our efforts and let all veterans, especially military retirees, know that the bill will be retroactive and that they must take an active role this year.

• According to an annual report on customer satisfaction that compares the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system with private-sector health care, veterans continue to be more satisfied with their health care than the average American.

The ratings came in the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which ranks customer satisfaction with various federal programs and private-sector industries.

The ACSI, an independent survey of customer satisfaction within both the federal and private sectors, gave the VA’s inpatient care a rating of 83 on a 100-point scale. That is 10 percentage points higher than the 73 rating achieved for inpatient care by the private-sector health care industry.

The VA’s rating of 80 for outpatient care was five percentage points higher than the 75 rating for private-sector outpatient care and nine percentage points higher than the average satisfaction rating for all federal services.

The latest findings mark the sixth consecutive year that the VA’s health care system has outranked the private sector for customer satisfaction.

Since 1994, the ACSI survey has been a national measurement of customer satisfaction with the quality of goods and services in the United States. The ACSI produces indexes of satisfaction for seven economic sectors, 41 industries, 200 private-sector companies and two types of local government services.

Health care is just one of the many benefits available to those who served in our nation’s armed forces. If you served or know someone who did, check on eligibility for benefits and services from the VA at: www.va.gov or call 1-800/827-1000.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, PO Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.

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