While the DoD’s SkillBridge Program is advantageous for servicemembers transitioning out of the military, that is only half of the story. The other half is the advantages SkillBridge brings to employers.

What Is SkillBridge?

For employers not familiar with SkillBridge, it is a training program servicemembers transitioning out of the military can take during the last six months of their enlistment. The training is provided by one of 1,311 SkillBridge-approved industry partners – like Amazon, Boeing, General Dynamics, and KBR to name a few.

During the time in the program, servicemembers continue to get paid by the military, while at the same time acquiring training experience they can use once out of the military. Training options usually fall into these four categories:


Also known as Employment Skills Training (EST), it is training performed at a place of work doing an actual job. Working in one of the many trade fields are popular OJT options – plumbing, electrician, construction, etc.


Generally a combination of OJT and classroom training in a selected trade.


Working at an entry-level position under the supervision of the providing organization. Only one internship is allowed under the program.

Job Shadowing

Generally limited to one day working alongside an employee of the company. No limit to the number of job shadowing experiences while in the SkillBridge program.

What Does SkillBridge Do For Employers?

The military teaches several “soft skill” work ethos that most employers find desirable in an employee, like:

  • Loyalty
  • Teamwork
  • Dedication
  • Timeliness
  • Attention-to-detail
  • Problem solving
  • Mission oriented

… just to name a few.

As a SkillBridge industry partner, it gives you an opportunity to see a servicemember in action, displaying their military-learned skills while working for you and thus showing you their potential as far as what they could do for you as an employee of your company.

Right now in this tough job market, it is hard for employers to find good, cleared talent. SkillBridge participants are a known resource as they have proven themselves while in the military – many times performing their job under austere conditions in hostile places. There is no reason to question whether they would have this same level of commitment working for you.

Another often overlooked advantage is many of the SkillBridge participants either have or have had a security clearance. As you know, this can be a huge advantage (in time and money) to fill a job requiring a clearance with a person that has previous security clearance experience.

And finally, because the military continues to pay the person working for you under SkillBridge, it is free labor for you while they are in the program.

Training Venue Options

SkillBridge training can be delivered in a number of ways. Depending on how your SkillBridge training is set up, it could be taught on site, on a military installation, by virtual, online or distance learning, or a hybrid of two or more of the options. Right now, there are 2,637 SkillBridge training programs taught in these locations.

How Do I Join SkillBridge?

Becoming a SkillBridge partners is a five-step process:

  1. Identify your training opportunity.
  2. Prepare for the application process.
  3. Self-nominate your organization for the SkillBridge program by filling out the inquiry form.
  4. Keep in touch with DOD and applicable military service branch(s).
  5. Remain engaged through communication with DOD/ service branch.

For more specifics on each step, consult the Provider’s Handbook.

Every year approximately 200,000 servicemembers leave military service. Don’t pass up your share of this plethora of talent and experience that could help fill your employment shortages. Become part of the SkillBridge program!

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.