Fellowship Program
November 19, 2020

Shift Announces 2021 Calendar for the Defense Ventures Program


With a new year, comes a new name

Shift is incredibly excited to announce the 2021 calendar for the Defense Ventures Program, formerly known as the AFVentures Fellowship. During the 2021 Defense Ventures Program, Shift will operate to host 8 cohorts of up to 25 Fellows from across the US Armed Services, with immersion programs focused on venture capital, the technology startup ecosystem, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. Next year will also see the introduction of an executive seminar, a high-impact week-long version of the Fellowship, for senior leaders of the Department of Defense and U.S. Armed Services.

“In just one year, Shift, in partnership with AFWERX, has developed a best in class rapid industry immersion experience. We couldn’t have done it without the incredible service members who participated in these first four cohorts, and our corporate partners, who have engaged in making this a transformational professional development experience. This program has the potential to create the next generation of change agents in the US Military, and the Air Force has recognized that by providing Shift with a contract to deliver this program to up to a 1,000 Fellows and hundred of corporate partners over the next four years.” 

  - Mike Slagh, CEO, Shift

2021 Cohort Calendar 

* Each session begins with 2 weeks of part-time preparatory work followed by a 6-week immersion with a host company.

Session 1 (Feb 1 - Mar 26)
  • Two cohorts focused on Venture Capital & Portfolio Companies
  • Full-time 6-Week immersion Feb 15 - Mar 26
  • These cohorts will be virtual due to COVID-19
Session 2 (Mar 15 - May 7)
  • One cohort focused on Venture Capital, One focused on Cyber
  • Full-time 6-Week immersion Mar 29 - May 7 (Virtual or In-Person)
  • These cohorts will be virtual due to COVID-19 unless safety conditions allow for in-person
Session 3 (Aug 23 - Oct 15)
  • One cohort focused on Venture Capital, One focused on Cyber/AI
  • Full-time 6-Week immersion Sep 7 - Oct 15 
  • These cohorts will be virtual due to COVID-19 unless safety conditions allow for in-person
Session 4 (Oct 4 - Dec 3)
  • Two cohorts focused on Venture Capital
  • Full-time 6-Week immersion Oct 18 - Dec 3
  • These cohorts will be virtual due to COVID-19 unless safety conditions allow for in-person
Executive Seminar (Oct 12th - Oct 15th)
  • Focus on Venture Capital; Participants at 0-6 & Above
  • These seminar will be virtual due to COVID-19 unless safety conditions allow for in-person

Interested applicants can review the required application materials here. Application submissions will go live on or around November 23rd at shift.org/dvp.

The Defense Ventures Program is open to all components of the Department of Defense. Selection is determined by experience after submitting an application. Fellows are expected to be on career trajectories heading toward senior leadership positions such as General Officers, Senior Executive Service, and Senior Enlisted Advisors. Cohorts are expected to run every three months through 2024. If you are interested in being notified about future programs or would like to follow along with updates from the cohort, you can sign up for our mailing list here.

About Shift

Founded in 2016 and based in San Francisco, California, Shift is a trusted labor marketplace for current and former members of the U.S. Military to discover careers, acquire and demonstrate new skills, and embark upon new job experiences at the best companies in the United States.  From active duty service members in the midst of their military career to veterans who have made the transition to civilian life, Shift’s community platform allows its members to engage in career development services that keep them competitive in the current and future economy. Shift’s talent acquisition services provide our corporate partners with a talent pipeline of diverse, non-traditional, experienced and prepared candidates. Shift is a veteran-founded small business backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Expa, and Structure Capital.

About the Defense Ventures Program

The Defense Ventures Industry Immersion Program, formerly called the AFVentures Fellowship, was created in partnership with the AFWERX, the USAF’s innovation arm, through a Small Business Innovation Program (SBIR), a competitive award based program that allows small businesses to explore their technological potential while helping the U.S. Air Force meets its specific research and development needs. 

Shift’s Defense Ventures Program is a career broadening experience for the U.S. Air Force (USAF), other Services, and Components of the DoD (DoD) to rapidly acquire industry-specific context and technical competence across mission-priority human capital needs by placing emerging USAF and DoD leaders into technology and business ecosystems across Silicon Valley and the United States. These immersive developmental opportunities increase the retention of the military’s most promising early and mid-career Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and DoD Civilians, while creating long-lasting relationships between the USAF, DoD and the private sector. 

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Current and former members of the US Military are eligible to join.