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Military to Civilian transition: Building Skills – bridging to a new career

A graphic created for the Career Skills Program(U.S. Graphic by Philip Carter)

A graphic created for the Career Skills Program(U.S. Graphic by Philip Carter)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Team Pete Airmen have the opportunity to receive help with the move from military life to the civilian work force from the Education Center with a transition program new to the Air Force.

The Career Skills program is a Department of Defense level program being offered to Airmen when they are within 180 days of separating from the Air Force. The program allows separating Airmen to train on-the-job with other organizations on and off base through internships, apprenticeships, and training programs.

Other service branches have been offering this program for the past three years, but in September 2016, the Air Force notified commanders the program is now active.

“About a month ago, we were asked to implement it, market it and get the word out about the nature of the program,” said Sheri Buono, 21st Force Support Squadron education center guidance counselor.

In order to be qualified to use this program an Airman must have been active-duty for at least 180 days and have 180 days of transitioning before separation.

The recent downsizing of the military has forced many military members to transition out of the services, many times the next step is applying for unemployment which the military bearing that burden of cost.

Different transition programs were then put in place. “First this was to make that transition easier for the service members, obviously that was the ultimate goal, but also to reduce the cost of unemployment to the government,” said Buono.

Since the U.S. Army started this program three years ago, there is a robust program in place. With Peterson AFB in close proximity to Fort Carson, the Airmen here will be able to take advantage of the many on-the-job trainings that Fort Carson has available.

Melvin Castile, 21st Force Support Squadron education center education counselor and Buono went to 21st FSS manpower and got a list of all of the Air Force Specialty Codes that are here on Peterson AFB. “We will be looking at those starting with the largest AFSC’s on base,” said Castile “we’ll be trying to connect these jobs with companies downtown.”

Any company off-base that wants to participate in the program has to meet a certain criteria, be vetted and approved. The Veterans Administration is one place that certifies these companies and will have a list of companies.

There is a three-step process for Airmen to accomplish to find their own internship or apprenticeship program.

At the moment, Airmen find their own program. They submit an application through their Air Force Virtual Education Center account, listing the company organization or training program. The application then comes to the education office to make sure it’s an eligible provider.

Once approved, the Airman takes the application to their supervisor to determine if they can be released to a program and have it be their place of duty.

When this is accomplished, the Airmen signs a participation agreement with their commander.

This program was designed to help transitioning Airmen from the military to the civilian workforce as easy as possible and at the same time saving the government money.

For more information, visit, or call Castile at 719-556-5051 or Buono at 719- 556- 6435.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui