Shift Fellowship FAQ


What is the Shift Military Fellows Program?

A Military Fellowship is a three-month on-the-job training experience that allows participants to translate their skills and prior experiences in a new industry and execute dynamic career changes. Military Fellows develop commercial skills and build valuable professional networks inside their host companies, allowing them to interview for full-time roles before they complete their fellowship.

Participants who receive and accept offers of employment are expected to join their host company full-time within two-to-four weeks of completing their fellowship.

For Active Duty service members, the fellowship complies with DoDI 1322.29 (Job Training, Employment Skills Training, Apprenticeships and Internships). Active Duty military can participate anytime during their final 180 days of service.

Military veterans are eligible to participate if they have less than one year of civilian work experience. We're rolling out limited pilots for veterans with our New York and San Francisco partners and will continue to expand the program to other markets.

How do I apply and get approved?

First, apply with Shift!

We’ll review your application for program eligibility (see below) and then walk you through the chain of command approval process. Here are the checklists for each service:

Am I eligible for a DoD SkillBridge/Career Skills Program?

In order to be eligible, you must have completed at least 180 continuous days on active duty in the armed forces and will be discharged or released from active duty within 180 days of starting the fellowship. You must also obtain approval from your chain of command, which varies by branch:

  • For Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force* applicants, you must get approval from the first field grade commander (*commander on G-Series orders).
  • For Army applicants, you must get approval from the first O-5 commander.

In all cases, your approver must be in your chain of command and be authorized to impose non-judicial punishment. They also need to establish a way to maintain accountability for you while you’re participating in a fellowship.

Lastly, you must have completed TAPS/TRS/T-GPS prior to participation.

What opportunities does Shift provide?

Our goal is to align candidate and company interests to find a perfect match. We’re continuously adding new partners who are looking for veterans to join their teams after their fellowships in a variety of roles, including:

  • IT & Cybersecurity
  • Data Analytics
  • Operations Management
  • Project/Program Management
  • Business Development, Sales & Customer Success

How does Shift work with me?

Talent Development means building the knowledge, skills, and abilities of others and helping them develop and achieve their potential so that the organizations they work for can succeed and grow.

Shift Talent Development removes the guesswork from translating military skills to civilian opportunities and prepares Military Fellows for dynamic career changes. We help participants tell their personal story in a compelling way and coach them throughout the fellowship, ensuring they’re on track for a full-time offer at their host company.

How do I get matched to a fellowship?

After you’ve begun working with Talent Development, we begin the matching process. We take into consideration geographic preferences, experience, career goals, and interests when matching you with our partner companies.

Fellowships take place on a rolling basis. Our partners host cohorts of fellows throughout the year in various cities and timelines based on their hiring goals. Once we’ve determined a potential fit, we share your profile with partners who can opt-in to interview you. You will be interviewed alongside other candidates, so be sure to ace the interview by asking us any questions upfront and absorb everything you can from Talent Development.

There is no guarantee that you will secure a fellowship if you receive commander pre-approval or if you have an interview with one of our partners. You are only guaranteed a fellowship after being interviewed and selected by a partner company.

Who is the ideal candidate for the Military Fellows Program?

We think everyone in the military has what it takes to be successful in the civilian world. But to be a successful Shift Fellow, we look for those who are willing to experience new things and enjoy new challenges. We've found that three months of on-the-job training is an effective way to translate your skills from one industry to another.

Candidates for a Shift Fellowship should also understand that we facilitate these opportunities in major metropolitan job markets and should be excited to move to one of these areas for their first post-military role.

The goal of the Military Fellows Program is for service members to secure jobs they love with companies that provide an exciting start to a post-military career.

Where do the fellowships take place?

We purposefully facilitate fellowships in the largest metropolitan areas because that’s where you'll have access to the best career opportunities. These currently include San Francisco, Washington DC, New York, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Columbus, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Raleigh, San Diego, Seattle. We are opening up new opportunities in additional markets soon.

Aren’t those places expensive?

The cost of living in every city and state varies tremendously based on a number of factors. That said, the salaries our fellows receive at the end of their fellowships are commensurate to where they live. Areas like New York and San Francisco offer the highest total compensation and have the highest density of opportunities for future career advancement.

When do fellowships take place?

Fellowships typically take place in the last 3-4 months of active duty service, but you can start earlier if you have terminal leave saved up. Whether you're on terminal leave or recently separated, you'll be expected to start at the company shortly after your fellowship ends if offered a full-time position.

Prior to the fellowship, the Talent Development and matching process typically take two months to complete. If you plan to take any terminal leave, please let us know and we’ll advise you on recommended fellowship dates.

We will make sure the fellowship end date allows enough time for you to clear installation and check out of your unit, typically two weeks.

What would a normal timeline look like?

  • 5-12 months from ETS: receive Commander pre-approval to participate.
  • 4-5 months from ETS: start interviewing with partner companies. Once matched, we'll finalize official military approval.
  • 3-4 months from ETS: 3 month on-site fellowship.
  • 1-2 months from ETS: receive full-time offer from partner companies.
  • 1 month from ETS: wrap up your final military commitments.
  • After ETS: start a full-time job with your fellowship company.

The timeline can vary based on your terminal leave and how long your command is willing to let you participate.

Is there a deadline for applying?

In order to participate in a fellowship, we recommend that you begin your application and the approval process as soon as possible. You can receive pre-approval for a fellowship up to a year in advance of your separation date. We recommend obtaining chain of command pre-approval no later than five months prior to separation.

We realize that sometimes your unit simply can’t afford to let you go, and it can be difficult to line up the timing perfectly. If you don’t have approval five months prior to separation, we unfortunately can’t guarantee you’ll be able to participate while on active duty.

Can I participate during my separation leave?

Yes! If you’ve got 60+ days of leave on the books, you may not need chain of command approval. Email applicants@shift.org for questions concerning fellowships on terminal leave.

Does Shift provide lodging and transportation?

Shift fellows whose Skillbridge internships require relocation away from their assigned duty stations are eligible for reimbursement to offset the cost of housing for the duration of the fellowship. The reimbursement amount is based on the average cost of single-occupancy living in the fellowship location.

Once you have been matched, we provide you a list of inexpensive options in the area of your fellowship for lodging. You are responsible for securing your own housing and we recommend short-term housing rather than long-term leases. You will be responsible for travel arrangements to and from the fellowship.

Any travel required during the fellowship will be covered by the host company.

Do I get paid for the fellowship? What about benefits and BAH?

Per DoDI 1322.29 active duty service members are not eligible to receive wages, training stipends, or any other form of financial compensation for the duration of your fellowship. This does not include reimbursements to offset living expenses or work-related travel expenses.

You will continue to receive all benefits and BAH if you are currently receiving BAH. Your current BAH rate will stay the same and you're not eligible for an early termination of your lease through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Is there a restriction to taking time off while participating in the program?

Your fellowship is meant to be an immersive on-the-job training program. We understand that things come up, but you should plan on working at your host company for the entirety of the three-month fellowship. Ultimately, it’s up to you to communicate if something happens and you need to take time.

Our partner companies understand that you’ve got stuff to take care of when you leave the military. You must communicate fellowship start and end dates, separation check-out dates and separation leave dates to Shift and your host company before you begin the fellowship.

Can I participate as a veteran?

We're rolling out limited pilots for veterans with our New York and San Francisco partners and will continue to expand the program to other markets.

  • Veteran participants are paid a $2,500/mo stipend during their fellowship.
  • Veterans receive the same Talent Development and career preparation as active duty participants.
  • Veterans are eligible to participate if they have less than one year of civilian work experience.

Can't find an answer?

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