My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 7, 2022

Use your final Coast Guard service days training with civilian business leaders

By Keisha Reynolds, MyCG Writer

Your last six months before separating from the Coast Guard could be spent training with civilian businesses in hope of being hired. This is thanks to the Coast Guard implementing the Department of Defense (DoD) SkillBridge Voluntary Employment Skills Training Program, which became an official opportunity Feb.4 when the instruction was signed.

For a deeper explanation of the policy, please see the new manual, the Transition of Service Members with Job Training Opportunities and Employment Skills Under the DoD Skillbridge Voluntary Employment Skills Training Program COMDTINST 1040.7. 

“Based on command approval, members who are separating during their last six months of active duty status can participate in the program,” said Rodney Whaley, the Transition Program manager. “They will be released from their unit, but will stay on active duty to retain their benefits—ideally, the on-the-job training and internships will lead to positions.” 

The DOD’s Skillbridge Program has had more than 60,000 participants since its inception in 2014. Since 2020, DoD has received an increase of nearly 14,000 new enrollments, as the demand for such experiences has increased. Whaley shared how a recent legislative change in by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) FY21, made this program possible for the Coast Guard, whereas a previous version of the act prohibited Coast Guard participation. The change was announced in 2020 and was approved by the Coast Guard’s legal office earlier this year.

Although this is the first time that the Coast Guard is officially taking part in the program, commands have unofficially participated in the past with success. There are more than 163 industry partners that take part in Skillbridge throughout the country. For example, the list includes Manpower, the Airforce Institute of Technology, and Amazon. If you as a member have a company that you’re interested in working with, that company may contact the DoD SkillBridge Program to seek approval to participate. A full list of participating companies can be viewed here. 

Whaley emphasizes the importance of commands being involved in the approval process so they can best evaluate the unit’s needs at the time. “Permission may not be granted to go if the member is considered essential because we will not be able to back fill that position,” said Whaley. ”The Coast Guard needs to first cover it’s operational and mission support commitments so, if needed, commands may require participating members to return to their units.” 

If you would like additional information on the Skillbridge Program, visit the DOD’s website, review the Release of DoD Skillbridge Voluntary Training Program Policy ACN 008/22, or email Rodney Whaley, the Transition Program manager. 

The Coast Guard offers additional programs that support transitioning members with employment including: Coast Guard Credentialing Online (COOL), and Transition Assistance Program (TAP). 

Resources
DoD Skillbridge website
Coast Guard Separations Branch website
Retiree services program website

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