Who qualifies for the Apprenticeship program?
The Semper Fi Fund Apprenticeship Program target audience is current Semper Fi Fund service members with a 70% or greater disability rating, especially those with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). We are looking for service members who are physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to take advantage of the program.
How does the Apprenticeship program work?
Semper Fi Fund staff who work directly with service members will identify motivated candidates for the program. Once identified, the Apprenticeship Program staff will help each service member assess his/her personal strengths and professional interests to determine whether he/she is a good match for one of our trades or careers. Once a good match is established, the apprenticeship program staff will help the service member develop a training/education plan and timeline to ensure each individual receives the experience and skill set that is needed to accomplish his/her goals. This may involve the participant attending a short-term trade school, series of workshops, or taking a focused class at a community college. Once training is completed, apprenticeship program staff will help the participant to find apprenticeship opportunities and to establish mentoring relationships with leading industry experts. This could include opportunities such as a full-time apprenticeship at a local or regional trade shop, home study with an active or retired trade professional acting as a mentor, or a series of progressive skill-building sessions where the apprentice travels to the mentor’s location for recurring lessons.
The school and apprenticeships will be paid for through the use of the service member’s benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs and/or Semper Fi Fund/America’s Fund assistance. After completion of the apprenticeship, the programs staff will help the participant find employment or start a small business in their chosen occupation, to include completion of any necessary entrepreneurship training, and taking advantage of available resources to ensure small business success.
What are the requirements?
The program is intended for our members that can’t work due to the seriousness of their wounds, injuries, or illness, but want to have a meaningful purpose to use their time productively. Our goal is to help our members “jump start” a small business or find employment in an occupation they have always dreamed of doing, but didn’t know how to get started. So our apprentices must have the aptitude to do their chosen trade, the desire to learn the skills required, and the work ethic to master those skills. Just as important, since the intent of the program is for our apprentices to start a small business, we require every apprentice to write a business plan, apply for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), and have a budget before acceptance into the program.
Where is the program today?
Since the program’s inception on June 1, 2015, the Semper Fi Fund Apprenticeship program has (and still currently) assisted 31 of the 35 maximum capacity for the program. Currently, we have seven of our service members who have started selling products and services. Some of these to include but are not limited to Leathersmith, Taxidermist, Photographer, Landscaper, Baker, Farrier, Service Dog trainers, and custom cowboy boot maker.
How can I apply?
If you are currently a Semper Fi Fund or America’s Fund service member interested in starting your own business, please contact the Program Director, John Mayer or 830-992-9581.
How can I get involved and support this program?
Our greatest challenge is finding mentors who are willing to share their time, experience, and knowledge to assist our apprentices learn their chosen trade to the professional level. Whether you are successful in the trades, business, marketing, finance, or any aspect of starting and running a small business, then you can help. If you would like to offer your expertise and donate your time to mentor these American heroes, please contact the Program Director, John Mayer or 830-992-9581.
Your financial donations are valued as well and you can be assured that we maintain extremely low overhead so that every dollar donated does the most good for veterans. Since inception, we provide rapid assistance with no red tape. Your financial contribution will ensure that injured service members have the opportunity to develop skills and confidence which are crucial to recovery and reintegration into their communities. DONATE NOW.