What would you do if you could get a highly trained, smart and reliable worker—for free??
Interestingly enough, you can and the U.S. government is happy to foot the bill.
The Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program is a week-long, centrally funded program that is required to help a member of the Military exit service by providing transition assistance services along with a foundation in Public Law, DOD, and Army policy.
One of the main efforts/goals of the program is to produce successful alumni, and supporting those who are capable of translating Army skills, training, and experience into rewarding careers. SFL-TAP helps Soldiers intelligently compare their Army earnings, benefits and potential for growth with what they can reasonably expect to achieve in the private sector.
CSP Skillbridge Internship
Within The Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program, there exists other paths as well. The DoD SkillBridge Program presents itself as an “opportunity for Service members to gain valuable civilian work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, or internships during the last 180 days of service. SkillBridge connects Service members with industry partners in real-world job experiences.”
It seems too good to be true, but it's pretty awesome. A soldier may begin the internship program six months from getting out with the intention of transitioning into a job they really want and have the skills for. Remote internships are an option, as well as the potential to move on-spot to the location required by the internship.
The internship program is super open-ended. There are a lot of bigger companies that are formal partners of the program. The nice part about it being open-ended is a Soldier has the potential to set up any internship they want, and then go do it.
When service members exit the Military they receive unemployment, which the Military has to pay for, So the Military figures it's cheaper for them to help Soldiers get jobs, skills, internships, and apprenticeships rather than pay for the cost of unemployment. It’s a win-win-win for the Soldier, the Military, and the Company providing the internship (which we'll get to in a minute—promise).
With the assistance of the CSP Skillbridge Internship, many soldiers tend to forge their own path and reach out to companies that are not one of the already listed partners. You can create your own internship, given the company you reach out to approves, and is then approved by the program.
Ideally, a Soldier will be hired on with the company directly following their internship. However, even if a Soldier is not hired on with the company afterward, there are still priceless benefits to having done the internship. Your experience with the company was well worth the time and effort because you may have learned more translatable skills in the past few months than perhaps you may have learned in a traditional educational setting, depending on the circumstance. With these learned skills and professional experience, there is 100% more confidence in moving on to a civilian company. Speaking their language, understanding their culture and scope of work, as well as displaying the newfound skills, professionalism, and tech knowledge.
Numerous companies have the potential to use this and can greatly benefit from it by leveraging opportunity, training, cost, etc. Helping soldiers like Zach, access these kinds of companies to go work for six months is the cherry on top, an invaluable benefit. The more we, as employers, can open that door, the better.
The jackpot for the company is offering a free internship, as the DoD pays the member’s current salary during the duration of the internship, six months, with the ideal outcome of hiring the service member on afterward. How cool to be able to bring on a skilled Officer, for example, for free, for six months (no skin off your nose), and if they work out...well it’d be easy as pie to integrate that person.
Zach, a former Service Member said he was shocked and thought it was too good to be true when he saw the job opening at Leverage. Zach said, “ From my experience with Leverage, the internship program is a super powerful leverage tool. Nick told me that the timing didn't line up with my getting out of the Army full time and his need for the position to be filled. But when Nick heard that the Army would pay my salary for 6 months, he said ‘Yes!, he can work six months for free.’”
“Now, you know, I've been working with Nick for a couple months and he is incredibly happy with my work. He's going to hire me. I'm already settled in really well, in a really good position with a job I love.”
“Leverage obviously is not on anybody's radar for an internship program but the internship problem helped solidify my place with them.”
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