Are you a military member within 180 days of discharge and looking for employment once you get out? The DoD SkillBridge program may be for you.
What is the SkillBridge Program?
The DoD SkillBridge initiative connects military members who are separating with civilian businesses and companies which have available training or internship opportunities that offer a high probability of employment. These services are provided at little or no cost to the servicemember. Participation in the program is considered official duty, servicemembers are authorized to participate in the program during normal working days and hours.
What Kind of Job Opportunities are Available Through the SkillBridge Program?
A number of companies and training providers have already set up or are setting up SkillBridge training programs. Companies already participating range from General Motors to Georgia Power to Microsoft, as well as a variety of labor unions and other groups.
The program seems particularly popular thus far with high-demand industry sectors, where employment opportunities are growing. For instance, President Obama recently announced a SkillBridge program (Solar Ready Vets) that trains Service members for jobs in the solar industry, one of the fastest growing technical trades, and more than 750 servicemembers have participated in the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry’s Veterans in Piping (VIP) training program for welding and pipefitting skills. The United Association provides all training and placement resources without any costs to the government or the Servicemembers. Almost all of the participants have received job offers.
Companies with training opportunities are vetted by the DoD and can be found on the SkillBridge web portal. Servicemembers can set up a profile on the SkillBridge website to receive email or Twitter direct message notifications when a training opportunity matches their profile.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for the SkillBridge Program?
The SkillBridge framework is based on two driving principles:
- The military Services will allow eligible Service members to participate in industry training instead of performing military duties during the closing months of their careers; and,
- Industry training providers will offer training at little or no cost to eligible Service members on or near the installations where they are stationed for the closing months of their military careers.
The general eligibility requirements for SkillBridge are:
- The Service member must have completed at least 180 continuous days on active duty in the armed forces and is expected to be discharged or released from active duty within 180 days of starting the training opportunity.
- The training must offer the Service member a high probability of employment.
- The training must be provided to the Service member at little or no cost.
- The approval authority to participate in a training opportunity is the first field grade commander in the Service member's chain of command. The approval authority will put in place personnel accountability procedures as part of the condition of approval consistent with DoD and Military Department policies.
- The approval authority may terminate the Service member's participation in a training opportunity based on mission requirements, whereupon the Service member must report to their unit of assignment.
Servicemembers must receive Commanding Officer approval to participate in the program. Check with your education officer for more information.