Veteran Trades USMC for NASA


When Rachael Moore took off her dog tags and unlaced her boots for the final time, reality set in. Soon, she would have to replace the steady paycheck, housing allowance, and medical insurance the military provided for her. However, Rachael knew she had an important resource available to help her overcome this challenge after completing the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), a three-day seminar administered by the Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS).

Rachel at work for NASA
      Rachel rocking her desk at NASA.

TAP is designed to provide service members like Rachael with the vital tools necessary to succeed in the next stage of their lives. After several overseas assignments, including posts in Japan and Bahrain and two combat deployments to Afghanistan, the former Marine decided she was ready for something new.

“I felt like I was ready for school and for a career that I can see myself in for an extended period of time,” Rachael said.

Upon settling in Palm Bay, Florida, Rachael enrolled at the Florida Institute of Technology and set her sights on finding a job that would allow her to support her two children and focus on her classes. The seminar helped her identify the steps she’d need to take to reach that goal.

“The TAP instructor stressed the importance of having a great resume, winning the interview, and representing myself to the fullest,” Rachael said.

Rachael capitalized on tips she received from TAP. She followed her instructor’s advice on eliminating military terminology from her resume, and showing potential employers how her vast experience would help her bring technical skills and high energy to any work environment.

John Savage, the VETS Regional Administrator in Atlanta, feels the smallest details of the TAP class can help job hunters stand out and get hired.

“Veterans have a wealth of technical skills and intangible attributes gained through military service,” said John. “The transition classes we offer help those veterans translate those attributes into marketable qualities employers desperately seek.”

After a brief search, Rachael landed a job with NASA as a resources analyst, supporting exploration research and technology programs. Today, she is enrolled in NASA’s Pathways Intern Employment Program − a federal internship program that offers employment opportunities for current students, recent graduates, and those with an advanced degree.

While she maintains her years in the Marine Corps gave her the skills and work ethic needed to be successful, she credits the TAP class for showing her how to market her professional qualifications.

A few years ago, Rachael was one of thousands of service members leaving the military. Today, she has an undergraduate degree from the Florida Institute of Technology and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration while working a good, family-sustaining job.

Editor’s note: The “DOL Working for You” series highlights the Labor Department’s programs in action. View other blog posts in the series here.

Veterans interested in learning more about the Transition Assistance Program and accessing the curriculum can visit www.dol.gov/vets/programs/tap. Additionally, veterans can receive one-on-one assistance at American Job Centers across the country. Visit www.veterans.gov for more information or call 1-877-US2-JOBS to find your local center.

Eric R. Lucero is a deputy director in the department’s Office of Public Affairs in Atlanta, Georgia.


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