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Hello, I’m Jason Marshall, a former intern for the District. In August of 2022, Marion SWCD hosted me as the first Department of Defense SkillBridge intern.
After 26 years in the Army, and retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, I wanted to better understand where my skills could be used in the conservation field. I chose to setup a SkillBridge internship with Marion SWCD. This opportunity was a benefit to me in understanding the different local players in the conservation field and to network with people that I felt could help further my personal and professional goals.
The Department of Defense (DOD) SkillBridge program is an opportunity for service members to gain valuable civilian work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, or internships during the last 180 days of service. DOD SkillBridge connects transitioning service members with industry partners in real-world job experiences. For service members, DOD SkillBridge provides an invaluable chance to work and learn in civilian career areas. For industry partners, DOD SkillBridge is an opportunity to access and leverage the world’s most highly trained and motivated workforce at no cost. Service members participating in DOD SkillBridge programs continue receiving their military compensation and benefits, while industry partners provide the civilian training and work experience.
During my internship, the District Manager and staff were very accommodating to my learning style and gave me opportunities every day to learn. In January 2023, my internship ended, but I have stayed on as a volunteer with the District to coordinate more internships under this program. I would like to see more veterans involved with natural resource conservation and land stewardship. In the summer of 2023, the District hosted Marine Corps Lieutenant, Josiah Poole. In October of 2023, we welcomed two Marine Corps Warrant Officers who happen to be brother and sister and are retiring at the same time. They grew up in Benton County and are interested in returning to their family farm. Marion and Benton SWCDs are sharing their internships and so the duo can explore what conservation is in the Willamette Valley. This will help them make the huge transition out of military service and into citizens who will contribute in a different way.
I want to thank Marion SWCD for allowing me to be the first Soldier to work this internship and I look forward to continued support of this program.