As we move into issue #4 of Camo to C-Suite, I want to highlight an organization and resource that we recently partnered with here at Product Protection Solutions (PPS) . I only wish I had known about this opportunity while I was on active duty. Hire Military,, utilizes the DoD Skillbridge program to promote civilian job training for transitioning service members. I asked three of the veterans currently employed by PPS if they were aware of the organization or program prior to their transition and none were.

No matter if you are an employer, transitioning veteran, or leader actively serving in the military, you are missing a tremendous opportunity if you do not investigate DoD Inst 1322.29, Job Training, Employment Skills Training, Apprenticeships and Internships (JTEST-AI) for Eligible Service program. Service Transition Assistance Programs (TAPs) introduce Skillbridge to transitioning members; however, for most it is too late to take advantage by the time they attend. Individuals should be made aware of, and explore, Skillbridge one to two years prior to separation.

Service member eligibility and associated benefits are straightforward. The service member must:

  • Complete at least 180 days on active duty
  • Have service categorized as “Honorable”
  • Complete VOW and service transition requirements
  • Begin program within 180 days prior to separation date

Associated benefits include:

  • Continuation of full military pay, allowances and benefits while in Permissive TAD/TDY status. This means no initial salary requirement for the employer
  • Up to a 6-month “interview” throughout internship that may lead to continued employment
  • Overcome potential skill biases because of “free tryout”
  • Training in desired field, associated to military occupational specialty or not, and immersion into the private sector
  • Relationship building and networking to support career transition

Organizations stand to benefit from hiring veterans. Vets are goal-oriented, they are trained leaders and take responsibility seriously. Veterans know how to make decisions, and most are effective at working in group or independent settings.  Veterans have a penchant for organization, and they can assist with instilling structure if your organization should require it. Vets receive education assistance and health care benefits (VA or Tricare contingent on their status). In addition, employers are eligible for select financial benefits such as tax incentives and U.S. government Special Employer Incentives (SEI) programs. Even with all these benefits, there is still more. Vets are loyal, they don’t give up.

Hire Military and Skillbridge are resources that can aid you as an employer, veteran or transitioning service member and should not be overlooked. One of the most significant challenges I anticipate for service members is receiving authorization to participate. Commands may be reluctant to authorize enrollment, especially in high demand – low density fields. For those commanders who may be reluctant, I challenge you to employ the same leadership during member transition as you did throughout the soon-to-be veteran’s active service. I can personally relate to the associated challenges, however, the individual requesting is on the path to separation regardless. Just as leaders have vested interest in a service member’s progression while in uniform, they too should continue that investment as they transition back into society.

Christopher Cox, CEO