DoD SkillBridge: What You Need to Know

DoD SkillBridge Program

As a service member, you have gained a wide array of skills and concepts that are sought after by many employers. However, as you prepare to transition out of the service, gaining more relevant experience and adding to your resume could help you in your future career.

DoD SkillBridge allows service members to gain useful work experience through apprenticeships, specific industry training, and internships. SkillBridge is partnered with private businesses to help veterans better prepare for transitioning out of the service and to find jobs.  This program is a great opportunity for veterans to experience a variety of jobs outside of the military.

Notify your Chain of Command

Before making any plans, you must inform your chain of command and receive the proper approval. When doing so, it is recommended to inform them well in advance in case there are any mission constraints. It is mandatory that service members must be within 180 days of being discharged and have also served 180 days of continuous active duty. When planning out the dates, remember to give yourself enough time after the training to accomplish all the requirements for checking out of your unit. You will also need approval from your command if the internship is going to be located more than 50 miles away.

Preparing

After you have received authorization, start to consider what program you are interested in. During this process, there are two routes you can take. You can find what business you want to work with on your own, or you can receive professional help from reputable companies.

When planning on your own, keep in mind the extra steps you may have to take when looking for the right position. You will need to make sure the position will benefit you, receive administrative approval through the base career office, and reach out to employers. This option will be fine if you have the time and a flexible schedule. On the DoD SkillBridge you will find the locations page where you can filter through:

  • Programs
  • Duration of training
    • Ranges
      • Low: 1-30 days
      • High: 91-120 days
  • Branch of Service
    • Army
    • Marine Corps
    • Navy
    • Air Force
    • All Services
  • Employer point of contact
  • Location

For further help, talk to your local Transition Office or Education Office for specific guidance through this program. If you happen to be on a deployment or are not nearby any offices who can assist you, visit the Contact Us page on the DoD SkillBridge website. Select the appropriate form and submit any questions you may have so a representative can contact you as soon as possible.

If you do not have the time to find a position, you can reach out to companies who help place veterans into SkillBridge internships. There are three main organizations who are well-known in this field:

Each organization are liaisons for DoD SkillBridge and they offer a variety of opportunities. These opportunities range from earning professional certificates, experience industry-focused internships, and receive resume and interview assistance. Using these organizations will not only make the process easier but will match you with a position that will benefit your future career.

Arrangement

After going through all of these steps, you need to prepare for your stay. Depending on where your internship is, military installations can make lodging space available in military barracks even if you are outside of your geographic home base. Barracks’ managers may authorize your stay on a space availability basis, all without any charge to you.

If you receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), you will continue to receive the same amount as your geographic duty location. So, if the cost of living is higher at your internship location, you will have to pay the difference of your living arrangement.

Once all of this is arranged, you have set yourself up for success to ensure a smooth transition out of the military. For more information visit the DoD SkillBridge website.

 

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