Season 4 Episode 153: Exploring SkillBridge with Dave Schantz - Part 1

We are excited to welcome Dave Schantz to the Lessons Learned for Vets podcast. After retiring from the US Navy in 2019, Dave built a SkillBridge opportunity at General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT). Once he learned how to navigate the SkillBridge approval process for GDIT, he took over the program to attract more transitioning service members to the organization. As the administrator for the DoD SkillBridge Community of Practice LinkedIn group for several years, he shares his knowledge of the program for service members, transition counselors and approved companies. Dave has been consulting with companies since 2021 and is now consulting full-time. As one of the premier experts on SkillBridge, he assists companies through the approval process and advises them on how to successfully build out their program. 

During Dave’s last year in service, he reached out to the hiring manager at GDIT to inquire if they had a SkillBridge program in place. Not only did they not have the program in place, but they also had very little knowledge of the benefits of SkillBridge. Dave sold them on the program, and he was selected to start working for them as a training advisor through their new SkillBridge program. After spending 6 months in the role, Dave was hired. Dave volunteered to be the administrator of the DoD SkillBridge Community of Practice LinkedIn group. From 9/2019 to present, Dave has grown the group from 85 members to 37K. Many service members are following Dave’s lead on creating SkillBridge opportunities. There are currently 4,400+ SkillBridge approved organizations.

The DoD SkillBridge program allows service members to participate in unpaid internships or apprenticeships with an approved organization during the last 6 months of service time. The organization can specify the duration of work from 1 month to the full 6 months with the expectation that at the end of the agreed upon period, there will be an opportunity for a full-time position. The program is designed as a train to hire program. It is not meant to be a free labor program. 

If a service member wants to participate in a SkillBridge opportunity with an organization that is not DoD approved, the program allows every approved organization to act as a middleman. This scenario could happen for a variety of reasons such as the organization doesn’t have time to get approved or the organization lacks the personnel to follow through on the intensive paperwork process.

For service members who are interested in SkillBridge, having a translated resume and LinkedIn profile is very important. Because a company is not supposed to be offering SkillBridge opportunities unless there is a high likelihood of a job offer at the end, the hiring manager will most likely be reviewing a service member’s resume and LinkedIn profile and conducting an interview. 

The DoD is making strides toward streamlining the approval process for organizations. With 200K service members transitioning each year and just 4,400+ approved organizations, there is still a lack of opportunity for some who want to participate in the program.

Connect with Dave at

Download the AAFMAA transition timeline at

SUBSCRIBE & LEAVE A FIVE-STAR REVIEW and share this with other veterans who might need help as they transition from the military!

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Click to Subscribe!

Subscribe on Spotify

Click to Subscribe!

Subscribe on Pandora

Click to Subscribe!

Subscribe on Amazon Music

Click to Subscribe!

Subscribe on Stitcher

Click to Subscribe!

Are You Struggling to Write Your Resume?

I created the Veteran Resume Self-inspection Checklist to lessen the resume writing struggle for veterans. This 11-item checklist will educate you in resume best practices while giving veterans a guide to assess their resume and determine if it's ready to send to  employers. 

Download Your Checklist Here