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USO Transition Program & 3 Tips for Transition Success

USO Transition Program

USO Transition Program & 3 Tips for Transition Success

The USO Transition Program connects service members and military spouses with over 40,000 resources. A Transition Specialist works closely with service members and promotes smooth transitions from active duty service into civilian communities. The USO Pathfinder Transition Program is will soon be renamed the USO Transition Program.

Since 1941, the United Service Organization (USO) has organized countless support programs for service members and their families. These programs support the USO’s mission to strengthen service members by keeping them connected to their families, homes, and country throughout their service.

The USO Transition Program extends 12 months beyond separation from service. The 200,000 service members who transition into civilian communities each year receive meaningful support through the program.

Keri is a USO Transition Specialist who shares her wisdom about the program and the transition process. She describes herself as a “connector” and an “accountability partner.” She explains that separating from service often means planning your own missions instead of functioning within already defined goals and tasks. Read on for more great info and advice from Keri!

USO Transition Program Services

The USO Transition Program creates new opportunities, connects people to resources, and provides support in many areas.

  • Employment and Career
  • Education
  • Financial Readiness
  • Mentorship
  • Access to Benefits
  • Family Support
  • Buying a Home


Military spouses are eligible for the program at any time during the service member’s active duty career. Service members are eligible 12 months prior to and 12 months after separation from service. Although they are based in the United States, eligible participants can take participate from anywhere in the world.

Keri explains that the USO Transition Program functions as an extension of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). USO Transition Specialists often work together with TAP and serve as a valuable follow-up for anything the service member learned during the TAP process.

Utilize the USO Transition Program

The process is becoming more streamlined. First register. This takes only a couple minutes. A Transition Specialist will follow-up within a short period of time, usually less than 1 business day.

Complete a Get Centered Interview with a Transition Specialist. This interview is an opportunity for you to explain your personal future plans and goals. Although all Transition Specialists format the interview differently, Keri works with you to evaluate your current status, desired status, obstacles, and cost of inaction. This model helps people set goals and develop a plan to reach them.

Transition Specialists can help you figure out your “why,” set goals, and form ideas about your future if you haven’t yet pinned them down.

Based on this interview, the Transition Specialist builds a personalized Action Plan – similar to a list of things to do to achieve your goals. Transition Specialists follow-up with you on a regular basis to continue supporting your plan. Action Plans, of course, work best when they are referred to often. Track your progress easily on the USO Mobile App.

What does a Transition Specialist Do?

Reflecting on her professional background, Keri says “I am a connector.” Navigating complex situations is her forte. This is clear as she describes her drive for helping others set and achieve their goals. Whether you need resources to pay for your dreams, support financing a home, or a resume writing service – a Transition Specialist will point you in the right direction.

Transition Specialists do not routinely ask for personal documents beyond verifying a military ID. They support you by developing an Action Plan and connecting you with resources that help you meet your goals. They can be outrageously valuable members of your network.

RELATED: How Veterans Can Grow Their Professional Networks

Tips for Transition Success

Keri shares stellar advice for transition success.

Plan Early

Ideally, everyone would separate from the military debt-free and with a bachelor’s degree. This requires planning, forethought, and understanding the processes involved in getting there.

Start with a plan.

Refer Back to Your Plan

Your plan for achieving your personal goals should drive your success. A seamless plan, however, isn’t useful unless you refer back to it. Referring back to your plan helps keep you on track in meeting your goals. Know that you can always make changes – it’s your plan!

Refer to it often.

Use Your Resources

It can be overwhelming to move from an active duty environment to the (often more autonomous) civilian world. Sifting through the 40,000 resources available to you can also be overwhelming. Delegate this task to a Transition Specialist. It may also be helpful to shift your thinking from “asking for help” to “utilizing resources,” which are both excellent tactics.

Improve as you learn.

USO Virtual Events

The USO offers a long list of virtual events. Check them out to get a feel for what the USO Transition Program offers. Some events include:

  • Mastering LinkedIn Webinar
  • Transition Talk
  • Virtual VA Home Loan Workshop
  • Cyber Apprenticeship Info Session





About the author

Lori Waddell serves as Co-director of an emergency response COAD in Montana, a freelance writer, and an Air Force Key Spouse. She is passionate about empowering communities and individuals through knowledge and resources. She currently lives in Montana with her husband and two children.