With only a 3 to 5% take up rate for the almost 200,000 transitioning service members annually, what’s holding this fantastic program back?
The guidance is ambiguous,
The employer partner application process is a bit lengthy, as it should be in order to properly vet the employers trying to gain access.
The website is not always up to date,
Even with the negatives, this is a fantastic opportunity for transitioning service members to showcase their talents for up to 180 days to potential employers and/or learn a skill set prior to fully entering the civilian workforce.
With over 1,000 employers across the United States and growing every month there are plenty of opportunities in almost every career field imaginable. Click here for a list of SkillBridge authorized organizations. (https://dodskillbridge.usalearning.gov/organizations.htm)
What could the DOD do to increase the takeup rate? Throwing money at programs is always the easy answer, but we have a few thoughts:
Make sure transition centers have dedicated/knowledgeable personnel pushing this program during transition summits/seminars. (this will be too late for some attending, we understand)
2. Decrease the time to apply to be a cleared organization to participate. (cut the red tape)
3. Road show in fly over country areas to get more outside the fence partners in rural America.
4. Veterans should actively seek opportunities where they want to live after their time in
the military is complete. There are plenty of opportunities near bases but not as much in some "home towns".
5. Train senior leadership on the value and process of the program.
SkillMil has been matching Veterans with great opportunities for almost 5 years. Every service member that has taken advantage of the SkillBridge program we know has either gotten hired by the partner organization or has had a really good reference to get another opportunity.
Some people will say it is the service members responsibility to seek out companies.
Some say that senior leadership has no clue what SkillBridge is and they provide zero help.
Most people we encounter love the program but had to do a lot of their own research.
What are your thoughts on this?