Scottsdale enters into MOU with SkillBridge Program to employ American veterans

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The City of Scottsdale has formally entered into a program meant to facilitate the employment of American veterans capitalizing on skill-sets learned, developed and perfected in service to the armed forces.

Scottsdale City Council in late January authorized the execution of an employment contract with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel Readiness of the U.S. Department of Defense.

In a joint report to City Council, Donna B. Brown, Human Resources executive director; and Brian Biesemeyer, Water Resources executive director, outlined the skill-building and training program often referred to as SkillBridge.

“Hosting agencies --- such as the City of Scottsdale --- are vetted and, if appropriate, approved by the Office of the USDP&R, the hosting organization must enter into a [memorandum of understanding] with the Office USDP&R acknowledging certain rules and requirements in operating the program,” the report states.

“Those selected veterans participating in the SkillBridge Program must be within their last 180 days of military service to be eligible. Those veterans receive valuable on-the-job training, and the host agency receives potential new hires, which ultimately enhances the community.”

City officials report the Scottsdale Water Department has been waiting for the right opportunity to employ veterans.

“In researching the SkillBridge Program guidelines and regulations, Human Resources has confirmed that this program has been successfully implemented in many municipalities and private organizations nationwide,” the report to council states pointing out the SkillBridge Program aligns with the Water Department’s apprentice program.

“The SkillBridge Program has many similarities to Scottsdale Water’s apprenticeship program. Therefore, Scottsdale Water agreed to be the pilot for the Skill Bridge program in the city.”

On Jan. 8, the Scottsdale Veteran’s Advisory Commission recommended to City Council formal recommendation of the MOU enabling the SkillBridge Program be developed at the City of Scottsdale.

The salaries of those hired through the SkillBridge Program are paid through the U.S. military; however, the operating costs are in city staff time, which includes:

  • Appointing a city representative to serve as liaison between involved entities.
  • Assuming the overall responsibility of execution of the program both on and off military installations.
  • Screen and select participants for the Scottsdale SkillBridge program.
  • All formal notifications to the U.S. military regarding veteran enrollment in the program.
  • Conduct a program feedback survey where service members are able to critique their experiences in an effort to improve the program
  • Create and provide 90-and 180-day post-program employment updates to the USDP&R.

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