February 8, 2022
After 28½ years of active duty military service that resulted in the usual numerous PCS moves, deployments, and growth opportunities for my career and family, I wanted to try my hand on a working ranch. So I traded my Belleville flesh-side out cattle hide boots for a pair of smooth tanned leather Ariat western boots and headed for work as an intern on a 100-acre cattle ranch under the US Army Career Skills Program (CSP).
With no firm plans for employment after the military, I decided to see where this internship would take me. Four weeks later, I found myself doing ranch duties, that is to say, feeding and moving cattle on the ranch, helping prepare and deliver cattle to auction, mending fences, repairing electricity and many other tasks that might be attributed to a ranch or homestead. This internship turned out to be eye opening experience. This program helped guide me to examine my own future plans while satisfying some personal passions and business ventures I wanted to explore.
While participating in the Army CSP internship program, I had the fortunate opportunity to also take part in a pre-apprenticeship electrician program. This pre-apprenticeship program was a condensed course and focused on everything needed to wire a house, learn local code standards, and learn the tools and business trade of being an electrician. Each component of the course focused on hands on instruction under the excellent instruction of two experienced master electrician’s. Upon completion, I left with a real working level knowledge, skill, and confidence to work on any of my own future electrical needs. This program was a feeder to become a full-level electrical apprentice starting at more than $25 per hour with a minimum of 40 hours per week.
The US Army CSP program offers transitioning Service Members the opportunity to participate in the Employment Skills Training (EST), On The Job Training (OJT), Pre-apprenticeships, and Internships at approved locations to work and learn with a particular industry for a specific practice or skillset during the last six months of their active duty time prior to leaving the military.
The Army Career Skills Program encourages Soldiers to capitalize on their training skills through this training opportunity to develop skills, credentials, knowledge, and a personal realization of where they want to find future employment as citizens in their home of choice. Soldiers interested in taking advantage of the Army Career Skills Program must expect to be honorably discharged or discharged under honorable conditions, have a strong connection to the post military career goal and offer an employment opportunity.
Proactive research is available on the Career Skills Program website, complete and meet the administrative requirements that include securing command approval on the application meeting, with the program managers and coordinator and be as informed and open to take advantage of this service program.