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 program work?
Semper Fi Fund staff work directly with service members to 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.
How does it work?
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.
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.