Skillbridge is a program that allows transitioning service members to train and learn with industry partners during their last 180 days of military service. This program enables service members to leverage their training, skills, and work ethic when seeking private-sector employment upon discharge from the military. It helps them gain a foothold in their new careers and enhance their marketability and post-separation career prospects.You can check our other army-related essential topics on our website, AKO Offline.
DoD skillbridge is a program that lets service members gain real-world job experience through internships and apprenticeships. During the last six months of their military service, servicemembers can take training from civilian companies and organizations like trade unions and industry groups at little or no cost.
While participating in SkillBridge, servicemembers remain on the military’s payroll and continue to receive their military pay and benefits. Moreover, industry partners often provide valuable training and work experience, so their contributions to the program help the servicemembers enhance their employment prospects following separation from military duty.
The DoD SkillBridge program serves an important public purpose of enhancing the marketability and career prospects of service members by matching the needs of employers to the skills and abilities of active duty service members who are transitioning to civilian life. The Department of Defense and its industry partners also benefit by gaining early access to the extensive experience, skills, and unmatched work ethic servicemembers bring to the workforce.
To learn more about the DoD SkillBridge program, visit your base’s Education Office or Transition Assistance Office or contact your unit’s command support staff. These individuals can connect you with local DoD SkillBridge programs and other career opportunities. Alternatively, you can check out local nonprofits that connect servicemembers with opportunities. Some of these include 50Strong and Shift.
A few of these organizations are already approved as intermediaries for DoD SkillBridge, so the process is easy and quick. However, it’s important to know that you need command approval before signing a contract with an employer. The DoD SkillBridge program also requires that the training offer a high probability of employment. This means that the training must be tailored to your company’s specific needs and not just to a standard industry-approved curriculum.
What’s the purpose of DOD Skillbridge?
DoD skillbridge is a program that helps service members transition into civilian employment by matching them with civilian training opportunities. Specifically, it matches service members with internships or apprenticeships that offer a high probability of post-service employment.
Service members enrolled in SkillBridge receive military pay and benefits while working for a civilian company, gaining valuable experience. They then can use that experience to land a job with that same company after they leave the military.
According to the Department of Defense, the purpose of DOD skillbridge is “to assist transitioning service members in finding civilian jobs through industry training or apprenticeships.” This program is available for any rank, enlisted or officer, and it may also be eligible for spouses.
For example, a retired Navy commander who participated in an intern with the Global SOF Foundation says the program helped him triple his professional network and discover a passion for sales. The resulting skills and work experience allowed him to secure a job with Microsoft.
Another service member whose SkillBridge internship resulted in a job with the Global SOF Foundation said he got an advanced certificate from Microsoft that “helped him become a cloud developer.” These kinds of experiences are not always easy to find.
The official DOD site states that your chain of command must approve those who wish to participate before you begin. This can be difficult to obtain, especially if you have to travel far away from your base or duty station.
The DOD site also notes that participation in SkillBridge does not constitute a contract with the government. It is more akin to a cooperative agreement, a legal instrument defined by statutory language separate from a procurement contract. This separation prevents the program from being subject to Executive Order 11246, Section 503, and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).
Do you get paid for DOD SkillBridge?
The Department of Defense (DOD) SkillBridge program offers service members opportunities to gain valuable work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, and internships during their last 180 days. DOD SkillBridge is a joint effort by the Defense Department and hundreds of public and private organizations nationwide.
Each organization has a liaison that provides training, professional certificates, and industry-focused internships for veterans who want to transition into the civilian job market. These liaisons also provide resume and interview preparation assistance, which can help servicemembers find the right positions for their unique skills and abilities.
However, there is no guarantee that you will get paid for your internship or any other type of training. Rather, DOD SkillBridge is a free program for military personnel nearing their last 180 days of service to take advantage of.
To participate in the SkillBridge program, you must first determine your eligibility and identify a DOD-approved training, apprenticeship, or internship opportunity that interests you. Then, submit a request through your chain of command for “permission to participate” in the desired training.
Once authorization is received, you must complete an application and obtain the necessary security clearances for your specific training location. Once you have completed your application, DOD will verify that you meet the qualifications for the training you are interested in and will contact you as soon as an open opportunity becomes available.
The DOD SkillBridge program is designed to allow servicemembers to gain real-world job experience with an organization or company that has a vested interest in their success. In addition, DOD will assist you in obtaining lodging space for your internship at military barracks on a space availability basis if your placement is located outside of your base or area of responsibility.
How do you qualify for DOD SkillBridge?
The Defense Department’s SkillBridge program connects transitioning service members to career training opportunities. These include internships, apprenticeships, and job skills training at more than 1,000 public and private organizations nationwide.
Unlike most other military employment programs, DOD SkillBridge isn’t restricted to specific service member ranks or experience levels. Rather, it offers all active duty and National Guard/Reserve service members the chance to gain valuable real-world experience through industry training, apprenticeships, and internships in civilian occupations during their last 180 days of Service.
These real-world experiences allow service members to determine if they’re ready for civilian work and if a particular occupation is right for them. Additionally, these training opportunities allow employers to catch top talent before they leave service.
As Bill Crowder, the Vice President of Business Development for the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of Plumbing and Pipefitting (UAJAP), explains, these training opportunities also create a pipeline of top-level talent that’s difficult to find otherwise. These individuals are known for their discipline, timeliness, and dedication to mission accomplishment — all traits many employers look for in prospective employees.
In exchange, participating employers receive access to highly motivated active duty service members at no cost to the organization, as they continue to receive military compensation and benefits during their time with the company. Employers also benefit from the opportunity to craft their own SkillBridge programs to meet their specific workforce needs, matching service members’ abilities and skills with the needs of their industries.
DOD SkillBridge isn’t for everyone, but it’s an invaluable opportunity to develop a solid civilian resume and build your career. As with all DOD career training programs, it’s important to understand how it works before you decide if it’s the right fit for you and your career goals.