Airmen, Guardians embrace Air Force Junior ROTC SkillBridge Program for internship opportunities

  • Published
  • By Maj. Celestial Arnold
  • Air Force Junior ROTC Public Affairs

The Department of Defense SkillBridge Program has established a significant partnership with Headquarters Air Force Junior ROTC, providing Air Force members with valuable internship opportunities at more than 800 AFJROTC high schools around the globe.

This collaboration offers a unique pathway for retiring service members to gain civilian work experience and successfully transition into post-military careers, including the opportunity to work as aerospace instructors in AFJROTC programs.

The DoD SkillBridge Program, launched in 2014, facilitates the transition of separating and retiring service members by enabling them to pursue internships with industry partners during their final days of military service. Recognizing the benefits of this program, AFJROTC has extended its support to Airmen and Guardians seeking to participate in this innovative initiative. 

Through the AFJROTC SkillBridge program, retiring Department of the Air Force personnel can intern alongside experienced AFJROTC instructors who educate and train high school cadets in citizenship and life skills, promote community service, instill a sense of responsibility, and develop character, leadership, and self-discipline through education and instruction in air and space fundamentals and the services' core values.

This collaboration creates an enriching environment that combines the experience of retiring service members with the enthusiasm and fresh perspectives of high school students. AFJROTC internships are generally 61-90 days, although this duration is flexible to meet the needs of the transitioning member and the host school.

Col. Johnny McGonigal, AFJROTC director, emphasized the significance of the SkillBridge program for retiring DAF personnel.

"By providing internships at AFJROTC units, we support Airmen and Guardians in their transition to meaningful civilian careers," McGonigal said. "Their vast experience, leadership and expertise greatly benefit our cadets, while the internships provide retiring members with valuable firsthand experience of the duties and responsibilities required of an AFJROTC instructor."

The AFJROTC SkillBridge program stands out as a truly unique opportunity from other internship experiences.

This program is specifically designed for DAF personnel who want to champion their services' core values. It goes beyond providing a paycheck; it offers retiring personnel a chance to give back and contribute to the development of future generations of leaders. It provides a meaningful way for DAF retirees to continue their service by investing in the growth and success of those who will carry the torch of leadership in the future.

Experienced AFJROTC instructors play a vital role in educating and guiding SkillBridge participants on the significance of the AFJROTC program. Seasoned instructors instill the importance of the program's mission to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community. They emphasize the impact AFJROTC has on shaping the lives of cadets and fostering leadership skills while demonstrating unwavering commitment to AFJROTC cadets.

As experienced educators and prior Air Force or Space Force members themselves, these instructors understand the unique challenges and opportunities that transitioning service members face.

The AFJROTC SkillBridge internship is similar to a student teaching experience, where the transitioning service member learns about the AFJROTC program, builds instructional skills, and has the opportunity to mentor and teach cadets under the supervision of a certified AFJROTC instructor.

For information about applying for an AFJROTC instructor position, please visit the Prospective Instructors link on the AFJROTC hiring process page. Those interested in the AFJROTC SkillBridge program should send email here to begin the process. It is important to note that SkillBridge is separate from the AFJROTC hiring process, although participation in the internship program has proven successful in leading to AFJROTC employment.

The AFJROTC SkillBridge program has proven invaluable in supporting DAF personnel with their career goals. By facilitating internships and encouraging collaboration between retiring members and AFJROTC units, the program equips Airmen and Guardians with the tools they need to succeed in the civilian workforce while providing transformative experiences for both interns and cadets.