SkillBridge Program provides internships, helps service members transition to post-military life

If you know of a military service member like Austin Meyer looking to transition to the civilian workforce, or if your department could benefit from the skills and experiences of military service members, find out how the SkillBridge Program can help.

Austin Meyer was coming to the end of his military career. He'd served since 2018 as a hospital corpsman in the United States Navy, and he wanted his first civilian position to be with an organization he respected just as highly.

He found that position at Mayo Clinic.

Meyer came to Mayo through the SkillBridge Program, which provides internships for military members during the last 180 days of their active-duty service.

"I chose the Mayo internship because of the prestigious background and history of Mayo Clinic," Meyer says. "I wanted to experience the top-tier medical hospital in the world. Just like choosing my Navy job, I saw Mayo as the best of the best in the civilian healthcare sector and made it my goal to try and join the organization."

Mayo Clinic partners with the Department of Defense to provide SkillBridge internship opportunities for military members transitioning from military service to civilian employment. Mayo Clinic benefits as well, as the program provides a pipeline for potential staff members.

From military to Mayo

As a hospital corpsman, Meyer worked in administration and provided inpatient, outpatient and in-the-field medical care to active-duty service members. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he was deployed to assist understaffed civilian hospitals. Most recently, he cared for Marines in Okinawa, Japan.

Meyer was accepted to the SkillBridge program while stationed in Japan. While still on active duty, he began an internship at Mayo Clinic in Florida, working in the Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery departments under the direction of Keavy Farris. He was involved in projects and process improvement plans and observed cardiothoracic surgeries.

"Keavy has given me all the amazing opportunities, projects, experiences and exposure to help me see not only how Mayo works but also how it differs from all my experience in the military healthcare system, setting me up for a successful career in the civilian healthcare sector," Meyer says. "She has exceeded every expectation I had of the program."

By the time his internship ended, Meyer knew that he wanted to work at Mayo Clinic. On March 4, he started working as a medical administrative assistant in Cardiothoracic Surgery, one of the teams he interned with. This fall he'll begin work toward a master's in health administration.

Meyer is grateful to the Mayo staff who helped him along the way.

"I want to thank Mayo Clinic as a whole, especially the HR team, Brandi Moore (his preceptor), Keavy and all the staff for being so supportive and welcoming during my time here," Meyer says. "Mayo is an organization that is not only veteran-friendly but also values our military background, training and experiences. I recommend it to all my fellow service members looking for a great internship and ultimately hopeful employment in the civilian healthcare system.

"The SkillBridge internship at Mayo exemplifies and goes beyond what the Department of Defense SkillBridge Internship was designed for," he says. "Transitioning out of the military is not an easy process. With this internship and Mayo ultimately offering a job before separation, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders."

About SkillBridge

Through SkillBridge, Mayo Clinic provides opportunities for service members to use their skills and knowledge in various in-demand roles. Internships are awarded on a competitive basis based on the service member's education, skills and abilities that align with the requirements of a specific position at Mayo Clinic.