The first program I wanted to highlight is the Career Skills Program (CSP). This is a great program made for transitioning service members that very few people are familiar with. The CSP allows transitioning service members to work a civilian internship, apprenticeship, fellowship or on the job training role within the last 180 days of active duty service. This is not a joke. The military now has a program which allows service members to work and experience what a civilian job would be like for their last 6 months of service in order to allow the service member to obtain a better understanding of a civilian work structure. I personally did this program and it was fantastic. My only warning/advice about this program is that it is not well publicized, so you have to do your due diligence to get your chain of command on board with the program. The requirements are as follows:
- Service member must have served on active duty for at least 180 days.
- Service member must complete the required workshops for Soldier For Life Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) and obtain their DD2958 as proof of final counseling.
- Service member must contact their local CSP representative within the SFL-TAP program to learn of different available programs established within the installations CSP.
- If the service member has an internship that is not listed on the established program of the installation’s CSP, the service member is responsible for obtaining an internship with their desired company.
- Service member must receive the approval from their first field grade commander to impose non-judicial punishment in the service member’s chain of command.
- Service member must report back to home installation after the conclusion of the internship with enough time to clear the installation before final transition date.
- Bear in Mind the internship is not paid, you continue to receive Active Duty military pay while you earn valuable civilian sector skills
Once you complete these requirements, you will submit your packet to your local CSP representative for legal approval. Keep checking up on your packet as you will need a copy of your packet back as well as a copy of their approval memo to begin your internship. If you find an internship that is more than 50 miles away from your home installation, you need to get the next highest field grade commander with non-judicial punishment privileges to sign off on your packet. For example, if you are stationed in Alaska but receive an internship in NYC, you are able to participate as long as it is approved by the right authorities. However, if you do choose to live more than 50 miles away from your installation your BAH and COLA rates will not change with your new location. For example, if you are stationed in Fort Bragg making Fort Bragg BAH but you decide to get a job in San Francisco; you will not receive additional money for the cost of living. Location isn’t a huge obstacle, but you should make sure you have a good plan on how you are going to make the out of state internship work before you apply.
I’ve had friends start internships with big corporations, take fellowships with political officials in Washington D.C., and learn a new skills and trade with new trade apprenticeships. This program allows service members to experience civilian employment while still receiving military benefits and compensation. It’s a great program, check it out. Let me know if you have any more questions about it.
Fight on! $