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MELE Partners with the Department of Defense’s Skillbridge Program to Help Veterans Find Private-Sector Success

MELE Partners with the Department of Defense’s Skillbridge Program to Help Veterans Find Private-Sector Success

Since 2023 MELE has been a proud industry partner within the Skillbridge Program (Skillbridge), which was created by the Department of Defense (DoD) to help the 200,000 or so U.S. Armed Forces members that leave active duty each year to pursue higher education opportunities or careers in the private sector. (Source: DoD.)

While leaving the military can be an exciting time filled with possibility, transitioning from military life to the civilian workforce can be challenging. Veterans might not know where they fit best, which of their skills are transferable and marketable, or even where to start the process. Similarly, private sector employers might not know how to connect with this valuable pipeline of dedicated, mission-driven, and highly skilled talent that emerges from the military every year.

Enter the DoD’s Skillbridge Program. Skillbridge offers veterans a pathway to connect with civilian companies and develop the tools needed to be successful in a new career.

The program connects veterans with industry-leading partners like MELE and others to gain private sector job experience. Skillbridge participants receive industry-specific training through apprenticeships and internships during their last 180 days of military service. Skillbridge is a true win-win program: participants receive their full military salary and benefits while working directly with organizations seeking to develop and hire new talent.

MELE offers Skillbridge participants an individualized training and development plan that includes a mentor, goal planning, and setting key dates and expectations. While at MELE, Skillbridge members participate fully in the company’s day-to-day activities, including meetings, brainstorming sessions, group projects, and training opportunities, among other tasks.

MELE’s first Skillbridge intern was Franz F., who graduated from the program in 2023. Upon completing the program, MELE hired Franz to a full-time role. He is now a member of team in the company’s Albuquerque, New Mexico office. Franz knows firsthand how stressful the transition from military life to the civilian workplace can be. He also knows from experience that the Skillbridge Program can help make this transition a less stressful and more positive experience.

“Moving my family cross-country to Albuquerque was very stressful because the job was not guaranteed after the end of my internship. However, the Skillbridge Program gave me the required administrative leave time to handle all my personal affairs and logistics during my move to ensure a smooth transition into civilian life,” shared Franz. “My experience was filled with a lot of doubt and unknowns as I had never done anything like this before. Luckily, personnel at the MELE Albuquerque office were able to provide me with some crucial tips and tricks for navigating the onboarding process.”

Franz is now able to share what he learned in the program with MELE’s next Skillbridge intern, who is currently working through the program’s onboarding process.

“Active-duty military should participate in the Skillbridge Program to set themselves up for success in the civilian job field. Too often I see military personnel leave the service without an effective post-military career due to a lack of planning and research. Skillbridge requires military personnel to justify why they chose to pursue an internship with certain companies,” stated Franz.

“This vetting requires prospective interns to contemplate how well their previous military occupations could support their chances at obtaining a specific internship and forces them to be more introspective of their post military aspirations regarding desired salary, position, or job location. These are all crucial elements of having a successful civilian career after the military,” he continued.

The DoD’s Skillbridge program is an invaluable asset for veterans seeking a career change and the companies that need talented people driven by mission. Veterans with highly transferrable skills and high performer attributes, like discipline and work ethic, are a perfect match for Skillbridge. Sometimes, mentorship, structure, and shedding light on the unknowns are all that’s needed to smoothly navigate the journey from military to civilian life. The DoD’s Skillbridge program does just that and more for active military personnel.

MELE is proud to be a Skillbridge Program partner organization. The company looks forward to continuing its work with the DoD to help more veterans secure a private sector career that fits them best.

To learn more about the DoD’s Skillbridge Program please visit the program’s website here, or contact MELE’s HR team at