DoD Skillbridge, It’s Not a New Program


Did you know that there has been a program like Skillbridge for many years?! It was called the Career Skills Program. It only became super popular when the skillBridge program came on to the scene! Creating opportunities for transitioning services members is actually a law created by congress IAW United States Code, Title 10, Section 1144! For those of you who need references….click this LINK.

The Job Training/Employment Skills training, Apprenticeships and Internships program. (JTEST-AI) is the overall encompassing program that contains the verbiage “Career Skills Program” and “Skillbridge”….it’s all the same thing! A way to help transitioning military members land a post service career! This is just good business for military members and Civilian organizations alike. You served your country and sacrificed what only 1 percent of people in our country can understand (your peers). The organization recieves top notch talent which makes them more money. Everyone is happy!

So, to recap, congress creates the laws (there are a ton of them related to the military). Each top leader, in each branch of service deciphers the law and puts it in their specific branches language (this is usually delegated to a team of experts who draft everything for the top leader to review and concur). It is then published and sent down to our level.

So, next time you hear E5 or E6 snuffy say “I’m not going to let you do Skillbridge”….it’s not their call. It’s your unit commanders, or first 04 in your chain.

Keep in mind though, that the DoD SkillBridge program is NOT an entitlement. (Example, your G.I. Bill is an entitlement). Your manning numbers aren’t something a junior enlisted person sees so it’s easy to think that you are getting the short end of the stick. However, 99 percent of the time your manning really is terrible….we as leaders just need to do a better job at explaining that. We also need you to understand that SkillBridge isn’t the “only” program that will set you up for success. There are great programs like apprenticeship.gov that do almost the exact same thing….just AFTER you have separated or retired! So don’t be bitter and hold a grudge if you can’t do a Skillbridge opportunity. Just save up as much of your leave as you can and start planning your transition a couple years from your separation (network with people on LinkedIn). If you’re a good person, have a great attitude, are humble, and willing to WORK…you will do great!


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