Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Answers to the questions we get asked the most about SkillBridge.

Military Members

General Questions

How do Service members apply to become participants in a SkillBridge Program?

Interested Service members can apply or ask questions about participation by contacting their installation SkillBridge point of contact; depending on the Service and installation, the SkillBridge POC may be in the transition assistance office, education office, or other installation support office.

What are the eligibility requirements for Service members?

Service members must be able to complete the program within their last 180 days of military service, and it is strongly recommended that Service members complete as much of their Service's transition program as possible prior to starting a SkillBridge program to ensure that they are well informed of all of their post-Service options prior to entering this program. Approval authority rests with the first field grade commander authorized to impose non-judicial punishment under Article 15 of the UCMJ in the Service member's chain of command. Such commanders may approve or disapprove participation by a Service member based upon unit mission requirements.

If the SkillBridge opportunity commences more than 180 days from a Service member's separation date, can he or she still participate in the opportunity?

No. Details about eligibility appear on the Military Members page of this site and are outlined in DOD Instruction 1322.29. Military members may direct additional questions about eligibility and separation planning to his or her installation-level point of contact.

At what time in a Service member's service is he or she permitted to participate in a SkillBridge opportunity?

The SkillBridge Program is intended to be a transition training program for Service members. Service members may participate in a SkillBridge opportunity no earlier than 180 days prior to separation, and all of their final out-processing, terminal leave, and permissive leave must also occur during that same 180-day period. Each Service can institute their own restrictions within that timeframe. Members should contact their installation's SkillBridge point of contact for more details.

Who authorizes a Service member's participation in a SkillBridge Program?

The interested Service member must gain approval from her/his unit Commander. Specifically, the Service member must seek approval from the first commander in his or her chain of command in the pay grade of O-4 or above.

Is this program open to Veterans and to military spouses?

The DOD SkillBridge program is for separating or transitioning service members during their time on active duty and for select groups of the National Guard and the Reserves. Through this program, the DOD will continue to provide these members their salary, allowances, and benefits while they are in training with DOD SkillBridge Industry Partners. Please note: DOD SkillBridge Industry Partners may have pathways resourced for Military Spouses and Veterans and the DOD encourages you to connect directly with them for more information regarding these opportunities.

Is this program open to members of the Guard and Reserve?

Yes. However, each Service may implement its own rules and guidelines regarding eligibility of Active Duty Guard (including Title 32) and Reserve members. Guard and Reserve members should contact their local Education and/or Transition Office for more information.

Are interested Service members required to complete a Transition Assistance Program prior to participating in a SkillBridge Program?

It is strongly recommended that Service members complete as much of their Service's transition program as possible prior to starting a SkillBridge program to ensure that they are well informed of all of their post-Service options prior to entering this program.

Is the SkillBridge Program open to commissioned officers, warrant officers, or senior non-commissioned officers, as well as junior enlisted personnel?

Yes. All ranks of military personnel are eligible. Command approval must be granted prior to participation for all Service members.

Are SkillBridge opportunities limited to the installation where a Service member is assigned or are Service members able to participate in opportunities other than where they are assigned?

Yes. Members are authorized to participate at locations and installations other than where they are currently assigned; however, the member is responsible for his/her own travel to and from home installation, even if recalled by a unit commander for duty, as well as final out-processing requirements. Be aware that each Service may establish its own rules on this subject. Service members must contact their installation SkillBridge point of contact for details about Service specific requirements.

Can the command authorize participation in a training program in excess of 50 miles from the member's duty station?

Yes. Commanders or installation-level SkillBridge points of contact can use the "Contact Us" page on this site to obtain details about Service-specific guidance on travel.

Will participation in SkillBridge interrupt a Service member's Separation Health Assessment (SHA)?

Military Service members considering SkillBridge opportunities should schedule the SHA as soon as possible. It can be scheduled up to 1 year in advance of an approved date of separation and then may have a final validation (administrative check) no more than 30-days prior to the actual separation date, which should not conflict with any participation in SkillBridge. Always communicate with the base transition assistance office, SkillBridge program manager, and authorizing commander to advise of any potential conflicts that may arise.

Can Military Service Members receive gifts or travel benefits or similar perks while participating in a SkillBridge Program?

As a general rule, Service Members may not accept gifts, travel benefits (transportation, lodging, meals) or similar perks from a SkillBridge Industry Partner. However, they may be accepted if available to ALL participants (including members of the general public) from the SkillBridge Partner.

Example 1:

A military Service Member (SM) participating in a SkillBridge internship with Company X while in a permissive TDY status. In addition to Service Members, the internship includes members of the general public. If Company X offers to pay for the SM's airfare and lodging/meals while participating in the internship, the SM may accept the offer if it is also extended to the participating members of the general public.

Example 2:

Near the end of the SkillBridge internship, the participating SM is invited to interview with Company X at its headquarters in another state. Company X HQ offers to pay for your interview travel expenses. However, members of the general public who also participate in the internship are not provided travel expenses when invited to an interview. Because the interview travel expenses are not offered to all invitees, the SM may NOT accept the travel expenses from Company X to attend the interview at the HQ.

Service Members and their Chain of Command should discuss the unique circumstances of any gift/benefits offer with their servicing Legal Office before accepting them.

Are Service members or Government Employees able to receive from a SkillBridge provider cash for referring peer/colleagues into their program?

OSD SkillBridge Policy Position: Employees of the U.S. government cannot, generally, accept payment to utilize services offered to them by their government employment or duty. That would, in effect, constitute double payment for their employment which is not permissible.

Do military installations make lodging space available in military barracks for those who want to participate in a SkillBridge opportunity that is outside of a member's geographic home base?

The Military Departments may make barracks or other similar lodging facilities available to Service members participating in a SkillBridge opportunity without charge. Current guidance in DODI 1322.29 provides that the "Military Departments will not spend DOD appropriations for JTEST-AI (SkillBridge) programs". This provision does not prohibit Military Departments from making such lodging space available. Installation commanders may authorize otherwise unoccupied barracks, on a space available basis, without charge to any Service members participating in SkillBridge opportunities while on permissive TDY outside of their geographic home area.

Can onboarding activities count toward SkillBridge Program training/time?

Yes. The Armed Services place great importance on acculturating new employees into the Department of Defense. Likewise, the SkillBridge program recognizes that onboarding activities allow SkillBridge participants to learn about an organization and prepare them to be productive and successful in a civilian career.

Does the Unit/Command remain responsible for the Service Member while they participate in a SkillBridge Program?

Yes, the assigned unit/command retains responsibility of the Service Member while they participate in a SkillBridge program. In some instances, Service SkillBridge Program Managers may be able to assist units/commands in monitoring Service Members. However, Service Program Managers cannot replace or assume the administrative, ethical, or legal responsibilities of the Service member's commander.

Can my Command limit or change how much time I'm allowed to take for a SkillBridge Program?

The decision to grant or adjust time taken to participate in a SkillBridge Program remains with the Service Member's Commander and/or SkillBridge Program Director or Chief.



Eligibility

What is SkillBridge?

SkillBridge is an opportunity for Service members to gain valuable civilian work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, or internships during the last 180 days of military service prior to separation. SkillBridge connects Service members with industry partners and real-world job experiences that are designed to facilitate Service members' transition to civilian careers upon separation from their military service. The duration of a SkillBridge program must not be more than 180 days and must occur during a participating Service member's last 180 days on active duty in accordance with guidance described in DOD Instruction 1322.29.

What are the requirements regarding employment post-completion of a SkillBridge Program?

SkillBridge Programs provide eligible Service members with job training and career development opportunities to acquire employment skills, knowledge, and/or abilities to assist Service members with job opportunities in the civilian sector. SkillBridge industry partners' training programs must offer a high probability of post-service employment with the provider or other employers in a field related to the opportunity, but participants are not entitled to a job at the conclusion of the SkillBridge opportunity with that specific industry partner or employer simply by virtue of completing the SkillBridge Program.

Are Service members required to participate in SkillBridge?

No, the DOD encourages Service members to participate in the SkillBridge Program and other career skills opportunities, however, participation is optional.

Can the Commander appoint a designee to authorize SkillBridge Program participation?

No. Commanding Officers maintain final approval of Service member participation in a SkillBridge Program. Approval authority rests with the first field grade commander who is authorized to impose non-judicial punishment under Article 15 of the UCMJ in the Service member's chain of command. This authority may not be delegated.

Where are SkillBridge opportunities listed?

The SkillBridge locations map on this site lists and provides brief descriptions about currently approved SkillBridge opportunities; installation-level SkillBridge offices also have information about specific opportunities.

Are there ethical conflicts of interest for members on active duty working with or accepting training from an industry partner or employer?

Service member participation in the SkillBridge Program with civilian industry partners and employers is authorized, however, some restrictions and guidelines apply. Most commands have an associated "ethics" briefing that members must attend prior to participating in a SkillBridge Program. The Resources page of this site also provides more detailed ethics information on issues such as pay, allowances, and gifts. Service members with questions or concerns pertaining to ethics must promptly contact their command chain, servicing legal office, or the installation SkillBridge point of contact.

What is the command approval process?

Service members should contact their installation SkillBridge point of contact for details about Service and command-specific guidance about the SkillBridge approval process. If unavailable, Service members can also submit a question through the Contact Us link on this site to be placed in contact with an installation-level program manager.

Are there Service-specific SkillBridge instructions?

Yes, Service-specific SkillBridge instructions are available on the Resources page of this site.

Will I be able to sell back my leave if I participate in a SkillBridge Program?

No, it is expected that Service Members expend all Leave prior to (or during) the SkillBridge program. Service Members should also expend their house hunting/Permissive TDY prior to starting a SkillBridge program.



Industry Partner/Employer Questions

How can an organization apply to become a SkillBridge Program industry partner?

Interested industry partners should review the information in the Industry Partners / Employers section and use the information on the Contact Us page to get more information. A member of the DOD SkillBridge Program will contact interested parties with further details.

How can an industry partner advertise their SkillBridge opportunity?

In addition to public awareness provided by this site, participating industry partners can work with local installation support offices to spread the word about opportunities to the base population.

How do industry partners obtain documentation that authorizes a Service member's enrollment prior to the commencement of a SkillBridge opportunity?

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the industry partner and the Department of Defense must first be completed; more specific MOUs with participating Services, and possibly further MOUs with installations hosting SkillBridge opportunities, will also be required. The interested Service member's unit commander will provide written authorization for a member's participation consistent with local instructions and the installation MOU, if any, with the industry partner. In some instances where SkillBridge Partners prefer to host their programs on the installation, the Service's/Installation's commander may require a local MOU to guide the agreement.

Is the SkillBridge Program provider responsible for a participating Service member's medical care, disability, and workman's compensation if they are injured or die while participating in the SkillBridge Program?

No. The Service member remains employed by the Department of Defense. The Service member's parent Service will continue to be responsible for all pay and benefits for the member during their period of participation in the SkillBridge Program.

How can a prospective Industry Partner obtain written authorization by the applicable DOD Component documenting the Service member's enrollment prior to the commencement of training?

How to Participate

How to Apply

All interested industry partners must first gain approval from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness, Force Education & Training Division through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU allows the industry partner to participate and engage with participating Services and installations and details arrangements between the industry partner and the installation and other DOD parties. Written authorization documenting the Service member's enrollment into an industry partner's program may be in the form of a Program Application, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Operational Order (OPORD), or formal letter, signed by all parties involved to include the member, the member's unit commander, and the installation program manager. All command-approved applicants will be issued orders listing specifics about the training facility as the Service member's official place of duty for the duration of agreed upon training.

When performing work for the Government (i.e. DOD or other Federal Department/Agency) can a provider bill the Government for labor provided by the SkillBridge Service Member?

No, providers may not charge the government for time/work provided by the Service Member (reference 31 USC 3729 and FAR 31.201-2).

Can SkillBridge Providers/Partners require a Service Member to sign non-compete agreements?

Service Members should not have to sign a non-compete agreement to participate in a SkillBridge Program. Any Provider/Partner that asks or requires Service Members to sign a non-compete agreement may jeopardize their ability to participate as a SkillBridge Provider/Partner.


Updated: July 23, 2021