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The SkillBridge Program Connects Service Members With Career Opportunities In Home Care | Generations Home Care
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    When it comes time for armed forces members to transition from military service into the civilian workforce, finding the right career path can be challenging. It’s hard to find a job that will feel exciting, fulfilling, and a good long-term career choice. But rather than waiting until the end of their service to start job hunting, The Department of Defense (DOD) manages a helpful program called Skilbridge that enables military members to transition their skills into civilian roles. 

    At Generations Home Care, we’ve been honored to work with SkillBridge participants to learn the ropes of in-home care. We sat down with one of our SkillBridge employees, Javier Ratliff, to discuss his experience with the program and transitioning into home care.

    What Is SkillBridge?

    The DOD launched the SkillBridge program in 2011 after the Great Recession hit transitioning service workers hard. While service members move into civilian life with a strong work ethic, leadership experience, and a broad skill set, it can be difficult to translate their military work into the civilian world. SkillBridge has been invaluable in improving service member unemployment rates for over a decade.

    The SkillBridge initiative gives service members a chance to obtain valuable practical experience in civilian employment during their last 180 days of service. By connecting transitioning service members to participating industry partners, SkillBridge smooths the transition from military to civilian work by giving participants hands-on work experience. 

    How Does the Program Work?

    While service members gain on-the-job experience through SkillBridge, they continue to receive pay and benefits through the government. This means that trusted companies can work with dedicated potential employees, providing them with training without taking on the cost of hiring, wages, and benefits.

    Once their military service has officially concluded, many SkillBridge participants can seamlessly transition into the field of their choice or take their valuable experience to a new employer and get a running start. 

    SkillBridge offers value to employers as well. Retiring service members represent a talented and hard-working resource that brings an exceptional work ethic to their chosen career. By participating in SkillBridge, employers can leverage all the benefits of this valuable workforce while also helping service members find their feet in the employment market. You may even hire an employee through SkillBridge that will benefit your company for years.

    How Can Service Members Participate In SkillBridge?

    Service members interested in SkillBridge must first seek written authorization and approval from their chain of command, so be sure to plan ahead, sometimes a whole year beforehand. The Soldier Participation Memorandum provides an overview of the company and the skills the soldier would gain during the internship. Once approved, service members can receive up to 180 days of permissive duty for comprehensive training with SkillBridge partners. 

    However, potential SkillBridge participants must do some homework before they start. This program presents an excellent opportunity to gain civilian work experience, but choosing the right career is crucial. After spending four to six months in an internship, the goal is often to move on to full-time employment with that company. That means that you must choose the company you work with carefully. 

    Not every SkillBridge placement will be a good match for the service member’s skills and interests, but some research in advance can make a difference. There’s no obligation for the service member to continue working for the company after the internship, just as there’s no obligation for the company to hire the worker full-time. If you treat the SkillBridge internship in the same way as you’d treat a job application, carefully researching your company and comparing your resume and interests to the job’s demands, you’re more likely to find long-term employment from the program.

    SkillBridge In Action: Javier and Generations Home Care

    Javier Ratliff is a SkillBridge success story. While transitioning from military service, the Arizona Coalition For Military Families helped connect Javier with Generations. He chose Generations because we’re a smaller company that tailors our aid to every need. Javier enjoyed the close-knit Generations community, where everyone gets to know each other and helped support Javier during his internship. 

    Javier worked as a Veterans Outreach Liaison, educating former service members and surviving spouses about their service-connected benefits in home health and hospice. Javier has since moved on to further in his career, but he continues to work with us through consulting. Overall, the SkillBridge program provided an excellent win-win situation for Javier and Generations.

    We’ve been honored to work with several SkillBridge service members over the years and love having a chance to share, educate, mentor, and coach potential new employees. Even if it’s not a long-term match, SkillBridge participants can take the valuable education they receive at Generations and use it to find the perfect fit in their civilian life.

    Making the transition isn’t always easy. “Lots of veterans believe they’re not ready to look for civilian work,” Javier said. But with the help of the SkillBridge program, they can build the skills they need to overcome those doubts. “It gave me the ability to see how civilian work goes,” Javier said. 

    We’re actively recruiting registered nurses and social workers through Skillbridge and plan on expanding our program to include caregivers soon. If you’re a transitioning service member and are interested in learning skills you can apply across a wide swath of caregiving professions, we at Generations would love to work with you.

    About Generations Home Care

    Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.

    Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.

    Our Specialty Services Include:

    • Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
    • Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
    • Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
    • Veteran’s connection to care program.
    • Live-in services and couples care.

    If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.

    About the author - Generations Home Care

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