SkillBridge is a program developed by the U.S. Department of Defense. It allows companies like yours to provide job skills training to service members during their last six months of their military service. Because this program is designed to offer participants a high probability that your business will hire them at the end of their training, SkillBridge serves as a pipeline for highly capable, highly motivated job candidates.
Some training programs must also receive approval from an established industry group to help ensure a high level of instruction. Internships tailored to your specific organization do not need to receive that third-party validation.
HOW SKILLBRIDGE PROGRAMS WORK
Civilian companies and organizations such as unions and industry groups provide job skills training to transitioning service members during the last six months of their duty. The service members continue to receive their military pay and benefits from the government while participating, so the service member bears little or no cost.
Your company can provide different types of training, including classroom skills training; online coursework; on-the-job apprenticeships in trades such as welding, pipefitting or construction; and onsite internships.
All SkillBridge training programs must be approved by the Department of Defense. There must be a high likelihood that service members will be hired by your company or another employer that works with sponsoring trade unions or industry groups.
Participating service members must be in the final 180 days of their military service and be approved by a military supervisor.
All training must occur within 50 miles of the military installation where the service member is based.
It takes some time and effort to create a DoD-approved SkillBridge program, but the benefits are well worth it.
BENEFITS TO YOUR COMPANY
You’ll know service members who have finished a SkillBridge program are trained, capable and highly motivated. You’ll be able to fine-tune future employees’ skills to suit the needs of your organization—so they’ll be ready to go on day one.
SkillBridge programs equip service members today—and open doors tomorrow.
Why do we recommend this? You have options. Your company can build its own program, develop one in conjunction with a local labor union or industry group, or work to certify an existing apprenticeship or training program. However you decide to participate, you’ll build a valuable pipeline of well-trained future employees.
BENEFITS TO SERVICE MEMBERS
Transitioning service members gain real-world training that is extremely likely to lead to employment after they leave the military. They are relieved of military responsibilities for the duration of the program, allowing them to concentrate on their training. They continue to receive their military pay and benefits from the government.
Why do we recommend this? Programs receive approval from the Department of Defense based in part on the quality of training, so participating service members can be assured the training is valuable. Programs are offered at little or not cost to service members and may be eligible for reimbursement under the GI Bill. Additionally, your company can choose to “fill in the gaps” with any costs to service members that remain.
If you think your organization can benefit from SkillBridge, here are a few steps to help you get started:
HOW TO GET STARTED
- Reach out to SkillBridge with any questions you have and to discuss your program idea. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You’ll need to talk with a point of contact at the branch of the military installation closest to you. He or she will provide additional resources and discuss your program idea and its specific needs. Here’s a link to a downloadable list of branch points of contact.
- A Memorandum of Agreement will define your responsibilities in detail. You can check out a sample memo here.
- In addition to learning more about the program, you can visit the SkillBridge websitefor program announcements and updates.
- You can see examples of existing SkillBridge programs.