G.I. Jobs Virtual Job Fair   |   July 25

Virtual Job Fair   |   July 25

Fast Track to Civilian Jobs

Some service members transitioning to the civilian workplace need to look no farther than their current duty station to find technical training that is their ticket to civilian jobs.

Partnerships with high-profile civilian employers and organizations such as General Motors (GM), Raytheon, Microsoft, the Teamsters, and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry (UA) are bringing on-base training programs – and a fast track to civilian jobs – to transitioning military members.

These new public-private programs capitalize on the Department of Defense’s (DoD) new SkillBridge authority that allows eligible transitioning service members to participate in training, apprenticeships and internship programs up to six months before their service obligation is complete.


Here are some of the available on-base training opportunities:

  • Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE)/Facility Engineer Academy is a one-week training program that qualifies participating soldiers as Certified Plant Maintenance Managers. The program is offered in partnership with Fayetteville Technical Community College.

– Fort Bragg, N.C.

  • Commercial Truck Driver Course is an eight-week driving training course that provides classroom instruction and hands-on driving experience that qualifies participants for a state Commercial Driver’s License.

– Fort Bragg, N.C.
– Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Firefighters Academy

– Fort Benning, Ga.
– Fort Stewart, Ga.
– Fort Gordon, Ga.
– Fort Rucker, Ala.
– Fort Jackson, S.C.

  • Georgia Power’s Troops to Energy is a three-week training program, which includes segments on safety and compliance, as well as hands-on experience with tools and equipment.

– Fort Stewart, Ga.

  • GM “Shifting Gears” Automotive Technician Training Program is a 12-week customized on-base technician-training curriculum that includes classroom, online and hands-on technical training conducted by Raytheon Professional Services.

– Fort Hood, Texas

  • International Union of Painters and Allied Trades offers training in industrial and commercial coating and painting for corrosion control; glazing/glass and architectural metal; drywall finishing and floor covering installation.

– Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

  • Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) is a 16-week course in partnership with Central Texas College or Saint Martin’s University (Wash.) that provides software developer and software development engineer in test training. Upon successful completion, service members are guaranteed an interview with Microsoft or its corporate partners.

– JBLM, Wash.
– Fort Hood, Texas
– Camp Pendleton, Calif.

  • National Institute of Sheet Metal Workers Program

– Fort Hood, Texas

  • Teamsters’ Veterans Entering Trucking

– JBLM, Wash.

  • Teamsters’ Training Credentialing Program

– Fort Sill, Okla. (Program forming)

  • Troops to Firefighters and Home Builders Institute

– Fort Benning, Ga.
– Fort Stewart, Ga.

  • UA’s Veterans in Piping (VIP) is an 18-week program in either welding or heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR), which qualifies graduates for certification and job placement into apprenticeships to become UA journeyworkers.

– JBLM, Wash. (HVAC and welding)
– Fort Carson, Colo. (welding)
– Fort Hood, Texas (welding)
– Camp Pendleton, Calif. (welding)
– Camp Lejeune, N.C. (welding)
– Fort Campbell, Ky. (welding)

  • Veterans in Construction Electrical (VICE) apprenticeship program

– JBLM, Wash.

Programs such as the UA’s VIP are offered at no cost to the DoD or transitioning service members, while other training programs that partner with community colleges or universities charge service members for coursework – an expense that may be covered using the DoD’s Tuition Assistance benefit or the GI Bill.

To apply for transition training, service members typically must have a separation/retirement date at least six to eight months out, receive command authorization, have a high school diploma or GED, be eligible for an honorable discharge, meet ASVAB/GT score minimums and other requirements specific to individual programs.

The UA is offering welding and HVACR training to 280 service members annually, with seven programs at six different bases, but VIP Training Specialist Mike Hazard expects the program to continue to expand to other bases.

“We see this as a no-brainer,” says Hazard, a Navy veteran. “You won’t find a more trainable, dependable, motivated, drug-free, deserving, hard-working group of people anywhere else. And as UA General President Bill Hite says, ‘It is the right thing to do.’”

While commanders must balance mission readiness before authorizing service members to attend training programs, Hazard says military leadership has embraced programs such as VIP.

“There is a shift in the way the military leadership views and supports transitioning service members,” he said. “They have a very strong desire to return their service members back into the civilian work force as productive leaders with a path to a great post-service future.”