Army Career Skills Program

Army Career Skills Program

Over 62,000 active-duty Soldiers transition into civilian life each year. If you’re among the Army service members separating within 6, 12, or 18 months and you’re on the job hunt, there’s one program you need to know about – the Army Career Skills Program (CSP).

The CSP is a hidden gem in the Army’s toolbox of benefits for Soldiers. This soldier-to-civilian initiative is the Army’s version of DoD SkillBridge Program. Army Career Skills Program allows you to move beyond your MOS into over 210 in-demand career fields such as auto maintenance, welding, solar energy technology, and more, while you’re still serving. Who wouldn’t want to be paid extra money to learn additional skills prior to leaving an organization?

Army Career Skills Program Highlights

Because not too many people are familiar with the CSP, your professional military resume writing friends at Empire Resume are delivering the information you need to make your last day in boots, the first day at your new job.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What is the Army Career Skills Program?
  • History of the Army Career Skills Program
  • The Paths of Army CSP
  • Army CSP Eligibility
  • How to Apply for Army CSP
  • How the CSP 50-mile Radius Works
  • Army Career Skills Program Costs and Financial Help

 

What is the Army Career Skills Program?

Army Career Skills Program

CSP provides Soldiers the opportunity to participate in “first-class” career job training, such as pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, employment skills training, and internships during their transition period, to improve their civilian employment options.

Soldiers who participate in the CSP have a high probability of employment. The program’s flexibility and wide range of options allow Soldiers of all interests, ambitions, and backgrounds to develop the skills, credentials, and knowledge to successfully find employment and continue serving their country as private citizens.

Since its inception, the Army’s CSP has done the following:

  • Provided jobs for 21,000 transitioning soldiers
  • Maintained a 93% success rate
  • Prepared 4,782 soldiers for a new job without an employment gap in 2019 alone

 

History of the Army Career Skills Program

The Army University Press reports that the first Army CSP was established in April 2013 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Tacoma, Washington, with United Association Veterans in Piping, which prepares Soldiers for careers in the pipe trade.

Past CSPs have included training in welding, pipefitting, roofing, construction, and trucking. Other programs provided training in solar energy, software systems, mechatronics, conservation, and electrical careers; they also provided introductions to the medical industry, police training, and corporate business.

Prior to December 2016, Soldiers could participate in a CSP within a 50-mile radius of their duty location. Today, with the availability of the administrative absence known as permissive temporary duty (PTDY) or “job hunting leave,” Soldiers can attend a CSP outside of a 50-mile radius.

The Paths of Army CSP

Army Career Skills Program

CSPs are offered as a Cohort or Individual Internships.

A Cohort is an approved CSP that is hosted/sponsored at an Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Garrison, which follows a scheduled program offering in a group setting of 5 to 50-plus participants. Individual Internships are for career training opportunities with companies that do not have a Cohort-approved program. 

According to Education Center counselor, Shelby Hebing, “The only difference between the approved and individual program is the individual is allowed to pursue an opportunity that may be more in their interests but doesn’t fall into one of the approved programs.”

Just in case you’re into podcasts, check out the Army Career Skills Program podcast for more insight about the paths of Army CSP.

Army CSP Eligibility

The program is available to all transitioning Soldiers who meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be transitioning from Active-Duty service with an honorable discharge.
  • Be within 180 days of separation/retirement.
  • Completed the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) Career Readiness Standards requirements.
  • Have commander approval.

 

How to Apply for Army CSP

Army Career Skills Program

Ready to join the CSP and get a job after the military? We’ve included the steps to apply whether you go with a Cohort or Individual Internship:

For Cohorts (contact CSP office or Transition Assistance Center for forms):

  1. Complete CSP Soldier Participation Memo.
  2. If attending a CSP more than 50-miles from your home stations, complete DA Form 31, Request and Authority for Leave.
  3. Complete any other application materials required by the provider.
  4. For additional information, contact your Installation Career Skills Program Office, Transition Assistance Center, or your CSP Region Coordinator.

For Individual Internships (contact CSP office for forms):

  1. Complete CSP Soldier Participation Memo.
  2. Complete Individual Internship Agreement.
  3. Complete DA Form 31, Request and Authority for Leave if attending a CSP more than 50-miles from home station.
  4. Complete any other application materials required by the provider.
  5. For additional information, contact your Installation Career Skills Program Office, Transition Assistance Center or the CSP Region Coordinator.

Note: A Common Access Card (CAC) will be needed to view the individual programs and to apply.

How the CSP 50-mile Radius Works

Let’s say you find an internship more than 50 miles away from your Army installation. You’d need to submit a request to attend and await approval from the proper authorities.  For example, if you are stationed in Utah but receive an internship in Georgia, you may be able to participate with approval.

However, if you choose to live more than 50 miles away from your Army post, your basic allowance for housing (BAH) and cost of living allowance (COLA) rates will not change with your new location. As an example, if you are stationed at Fort Benning Georgia, making Fort Benning BAH, but you decide to get a job in Seattle, you will not receive additional money for the cost of living.

Be sure to plan accordingly on how you are going to make the out-of-state internship work before you apply for CSP.

Army Career Skills Program Costs and Financial Help

Army Career Skills Program

The Army CSP programs are of little to no cost for Soldiers. For programs that require funding, the Post 911 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, and Credentialing Assistance can help cover costs.

The Army Emergency Relief (AER) is also available for eligible Soldiers. As of December 1, 2021, the AER approved assistance for the Army’s Career Skills Program at all installations nationwide.

“There’s no doubt the military-to-civilian transition can be challenging for some members of our military,” says retired Lt. Gen. Raymond Mason, Army Emergency Relief Director. “26% of all veterans, and 47% of those who served since 9/11, said that readjusting to civilian life after years in the military can be difficult.”

This is the reason why the Army’s official nonprofit, the Army Emergency Relief (AER), committed $3 million in grants to support Soldiers approved for CSP. Assistance may be provided as a grant up to $500 for participation in a local continental United States CSP, a grant up to $1,000 for participation in a non-local Continental United States (CONUS) CSP; or a grant up to $1,500 for Soldiers traveling from outside continental United States to participate in a CONUS CSP.

AER assistance may cover costs related to CSP as follows:

  • Travel expenses (airfare or fuel)
  • Uniforms/business attire
  • Tools/CSP training supplies
  • Lodging
  • Utilities
  • Food

Review the AER Bulletin for more guidance on the Army Emergency Relief assistance.

Get the Job Skills You Need to Succeed with Army CSP

According to the CSP opportunities map, you can get job skills from Fort Drum to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and anywhere in between working with Hiring Our Heroes, Ryder Diesel Mechanics, Delta Airlines, and more.

With the Army Career Skills Program, the opportunities are endless. Be sure to contact your local Army Education Center and SFL-TAP center to get started!

And when you need military-to-civilian resume writing, contact Empire Resume. We’ll help you transform your military experience, skills, and achievements into a civilian resume that generates results.  We guarantee it!

Empire Resume Will Help You Transition into the Civilian Workforce

Army Career Skills Program

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CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND GET STARTED

Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for both professionals and service members transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and was responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a Ph.D. in Finance.

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