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How Axis helps service members gain valuable skills for the workforce

March 8, 2024

Josue Flores, SkillBridge Administrator and Zanky Shah, Axis SkillBridge Recruiting Specialist

We foster an inclusive workplace where employees feel empowered to develop or even start a new chapter. That’s why SkillBridge—a U.S.-based internship initiative facilitating military service members’ transition into civilian roles—is a perfect fit for us. We sat down with three former Axis SkillBridge interns (now employees) and the program administrator to discover more about their experiences.

Over 200,000 men and women transition out of the military each year, but finding a new role in civilian life isn’t always easy. The US Department of Defense developed SkillBridge to make this process smoother. Our SkillBridge program, the Axis Military Apprenticeship Program: Secure Your Future, provides active service members the chance to intern in technical services, sales, and other roles at Axis locations across the US. Internships take place during the last few months in service while participants still receive their military salary. Axis SkillBridge Administrator, Josue Flores, explains why the initiative is so rewarding, “Service members have so many valuable skills needed in our industry, and they are always ready to work hard and go the extra mile, which makes them great colleagues.”

Axis SkillBridge Recruiting Specialist, Zanky Shah, comments, “SkillBridge is a valuable program for our veteran heroes, and arguably more favorable for the companies who participate. This program allows for companies to seek alternate talent through a diverse source during a time with a clear shortage in the workforce.  If successful, companies develop a fully trained pipeline of talent at the end of the internship program with the potential to convert an intern to a permanent hire – a clear win-win for everyone involved!”

Making the transition

SkillBridge candidates come from diverse military backgrounds, evident from the Axis employees we interviewed who covered roles in US sea, land, and air defense: Collin Endsley was a Navy electrician for four years; Caleb Sanders was an Air Force audio engineer for 20 years; and Sam Bixler spent four years as a Marine Corps infantry fire team leader.

Post-military life can be stressful as individuals navigate job searches and redefine their careers. So, what attracted these three to the SkillBridge program? Collin, one of our first Axis interns, shares his thoughts: “When I left the military, I had a wife and child to support, so I needed to get a job fast. SkillBridge was a great way to get my feet wet at a company. I immediately liked the culture at Axis, it has a family feeling and a flat hierarchy where everyone is approachable. That’s quite different from the world I came from.”

Sam agrees: “When I approached Axis, everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and I knew that was where I wanted to be.”

From intern to employee

All three veterans started full-time jobs at Axis after completing their internships. While this outcome isn’t guaranteed, Sam says his manager emphasized that commitment, initiative, and meeting company standards could result in a more permanent role. This proved to be the case for him, “I finished my internship on a Saturday, and my Axis manager and the awesome Axis HR team had everything set up so I could walk into my new job on Monday.” Sam is now also responsible for recruiting new people for SkillBridge, “it’s come full circle, and now I can hopefully give others the opportunity I had.”

Describing the intern-to-employee process, Collin, who made this journey two years ago, remembers feeling apprehensive about finding the right job. However, an IT Helpdesk/AV Support Administrator position came up just in time and following the standard interview process, he emerged as the top candidate.

The day we spoke to Caleb, he was officially retiring from 20 years in the Air Force and shifting from an Axis intern to a Technical Services Engineer employee. The program made this process smoother for him, “I’ve been enjoying basically doing a complete career change—spending four months as an intern and demonstrating my competence in something completely unrelated to what my resume shows.”

A learning curve

The program not only gives service members a refreshed resume and work experience but also boosts interpersonal skills. For Caleb, there was a lot to learn when it came to providing customer support and, in his words, “learning how to draw information from the customer to get them to the solution.” But with the help of his mentors, he is now flourishing in his new-found career.

So, what do we look for when evaluating applications for new Axis SkillBridge interns? Josue explains;

“Number one, we look for individuals who will take the initiative. Then, you have to be willing to learn and be flexible about what position you take.”

When asked what advice our former interns would give applicants, all three agreed—just go for it!

Are you ready for your next challenge?

Quick facts about Axis SkillBridge

  • 4–6 month internships available.
  • Internships across various departments, including sales, marketing, and technical services.
  • Internships open throughout Axis offices in the US.
  • Current military service required to participate in program.