ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Skillbridge helps make the future less uncertain for military members separating from the service.
The program is an opportunity for service members to gain valuable civilian work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, on-the-job training or internships during the last 180 days of service.
Angela Daniels, a training management specialist in the Robins Education and Training Office and the Skillbridge program counselor and program manager, said Skillbridge connects service members with industry partners in real-world job experiences.
“Skillbridge is an excellent opportunity as service members plan for life after the military,” she said. “Skillbridge matches civilian opportunities to member’s job training and work experience at the end of their military duty. Members can enhance their marketability and post-separation career prospects by participating in a Skillbridge opportunity.”
Enlisted and officer ranks may apply, as long as they have 180 days of service or fewer remaining prior to date of separation with an honorable discharge, including general discharge under honorable conditions. Additionally, members must have at least 180 continuous days of active service, obtained approval from their unit commander, and agree that participation in Skillbridge can be terminated at any time if mission requirements dictate.
Members must complete a counseling session with a Skillbridge counselor and speak to his or her commander for approval to participate in the Skillbridge program.
Next, the service member should contact the company he or she would like to complete Skillbridge with and submit the vetting checklist, retirement order, if applicable, along with a detailed training plan and complete official Skillbridge application once given the go-ahead via Air Force Virtual Education Center.
The Skillbridge counselor then considers the application for approval and emails the military member’s commander for consideration for approval.
If the military member is participating in the Skillbridge program outside of the 50-mile radius then the application is submitted to the member’s major command for a Permissive Temporary Duty assaignment. Upon approval, the military member will receive a PTDY letter.
Daniels said most programs are less than four months, which allows members not only to receive their industry-related training and set themselves up for immediate entry into a new career – typically with the industry partner – but also to have time to use terminal leave, so long as it does not total more than 180 days combined.
Daniels said Skillbridge is a great opportunity for our service members to explore new job skills or expand on current military skills.
“Participating in Skillbridge can ease the stress around military separation,” she said. “Members gain critical work experience and training opportunities that are directly connected to a post-service career.”
Daniels said often members experience direct hire from Skillbridge participation, with no period of unemployment, and learn if the company is a good fit for them before they separate from the military.
While the program isn’t mandatory, the Defense Department encourages service members to participate in Skillbridge and other career skills opportunities.
For more information, military members may contact Daniels at (478) 327-3406, as early as one year from their date of separation. Also, service members may visit the DOD website at https://dodskillbridge.usalearning.gov/index.htm.