30 June 2015

5 Internships Programs Veterans Should Consider

David Yoo, RallyPoint Civilian Careers.

Veterans Internship Programs

Internship programs can be crucial in creating a foundation for developing skills and gaining valuable experiences for employment in the civilian sector. It's both a great way to refurbish some of the skills learned during the years of service and a way to learn new ones. 

Businesses and large companies often offer internship programs that serve to expose the intern to the company's organizational structure, as well as the skills, knowledge, and behaviors necessary to succeed in the industry. As a result, exploring some internship opportunities, even unpaid ones, can be worthwhile. Fortunately, outside of internship positions offered by startups and other businesses available to all, there are specific internship programs for veterans who seek to gain some practical experiences in the civilian sector. 

Many programs, as the ones that will be discussed below, also offer specific opportunities for disabled veterans. 

Here are some internship opportunities for veterans who wish to be a part of rewarding and educational programs to advance their career prospects.

#1 Internship Programs with the VA 

The VA lists several internship programs for veterans and current students, graduates, and other applicants. Each program is different and can be explored on the VA's internship program home page

Below is a video that was created by a VA intern (with the goal of highlighting the VA's mission) and posted on the VA's internship program home page.

The table on the internship program page provides summaries of the different internship programs offered by the VA. Some examples of the programs offered include the Pathways Internship Programs, which allows students to join VA in career positions that emphasize long-term training and development. The VA Acquisition Academy Acquisition Internship School: Warriors to Workforce Program (W2W) is another program that prepares wounded veterans for a transition into a career as a contract specialist. 

#2 Veterans Congressional Internship Program 

The Veterans Congressional Internship Program is for veterans are interested in being able to qualify for employment on Congressional Staff (employees of the United States Congress or individual members of Congress).

Veterans Congressional Internship Programs

The program was founded by Rear Admiral [Ret.] James J. Carey [Navy] when he observed the need for opportunities to allow veterans to bridge the professional gap from military service to civilian career (there has been a steady decline in number of members of congress who are military veterans in the past 60 years). The program is a "ten week paid internship on Congressional Staff, learning the Congressional Legislative and Budget process and obtaining the qualifications, experience, training, and credentialing necessary to be a potential candidate for employment on Congressional Staff." 

"These internships are overseen, administered, and mentored by the Washington Scholars Intern Program Management Team, a motivated group of more than 20 Washington Scholars Graduates now working full time in the nation’s capitol and “giving back” of their time and expertise as successful graduates of the Washington Scholars Program by volunteering their service on the Management Team." 

To check out the opportunity, go to the home page and apply. Be sure to denote that you are applying for the “Veterans Internship Program.” 

#3 Wounded Veterans Internship Program 
The Virginia Department of Transportation, or VDOT, launched the Wounded Veterans Internship Program in September 2006 in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration. The Wounded Veterans Internship Program is an initiative designed to help veterans transition from military to civilian employment and focuses on the disabled veterans that have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq and who have been unable to return to their former job as a result of a physical/emotional disability or because the position is now unavailable. 

Wounded Veterans Internship Program

The VDOT was the first transportation department in the United States to spearhead a program like this to assist veterans and offer meaningful opportunities to shape and advance their careers.

The program allows veterans to "revamp previous job skills" or develop new ones. The VDOT has partnered with a number of veteran service organizations to implement the internship program, which attempts to locate internship opportunities near the participating veteran's home and rehabilitation facility. The nature of the internship being offered is depends on the veteran's interests and skill set. Some areas of interest include "planning, finance, project management, security, procurement, quality control, information systems, engineering, civil rights, and human resources." 

The programs compensate veterans with an hourly rate, which is determined by the skill sets involved, as well as with the particular position where the intern is placed. More information about the program can be found here

#4 United States Patent and Trademark Office Veteran Hiring Program 

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) veterans contribute to areas of "science and engineering, information technology (IT), contracts, procurement, finance, administration, project and program management and customer support."

Veterans Internship Programs with USPTO

While a variety of employment options are available through posted job announcements and opportunities through special hiring authorities, the USPTO also lists internship opportunities. Some of the examples included is the Student Patent Examiner Trainee internship program. This program is a paid internship sponsored by the USPTO and it is "specifically designed for veteran students entering their final year of study in engineering or computer science from an accredited local accredited college or university in the MD, VA, and DC metropolitan area." More opportunities like these are listed on the USPTO career page here

#5 IAVA Internship Program 

The IAVA (or the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) is an advocacy group looking for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to fill openings in positions for summer programs located in New York City and Washington, DC.

IAVA Internship Program for Veterans

Some of the internship positions available every summer include operations, communications, programs, development, salesforce administration, policy, legislative, and research. Although the deadline for the summer of 2015 applications was on April 15th of this year, it is worthwhile to check out the IAVA internship program page when applications start to roll out next spring. The program begins at the beginning of June and lasts until the middle of August. 

More career opportunities and other job openings can be seen on RallyPoint in our career corner. To see what companies post on our platform, click the link here.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. All these civilian internships programs are undoubtedly awesome and it will give great opportunities to the interns to build career.But my fascination is internship at USPTO.For me,working with USPTO is the glorious achievement.I think,I should start researching on US trademark search now!

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