Internship enhances resume and civilian employment opportunities for service members
Scottsdale, Ariz. (July 8, 2021) – For the past six years, Sailor Kyle Duncan has served the United States military as an electronic technician on ships within the US Navy. This year he is taking that experience and growing his resume as the first-ever SkillBridge attendee at Scottsdale Water.
As a native Arizonan, Duncan grew up around water; his first job entailed pool maintenance in the Phoenix Metro Area. After enlisting in the US Navy at the age of twenty-one, he transitioned to electronics technician, most recently serving as the external communications supervisor for the USS Pearl Harbor.
But after years at sea, it was time to put down roots. “My wife and I wanted to come home and be near family,” said Duncan about transitioning to civilian life. “I want to get my engineering degree, but I can’t do that if I’m on a ship with little to no internet.”
Then Duncan learned about Scottsdale Water’s inaugural SkillBridge opportunity - a six-month internship working as a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Systems Apprentice – which would utilize his technical skills from the Navy.
Duncan’s supervisor, Water Systems and Technology Manager Stephen Rot said, “The intent of the program is to train hard-working technicians who serve this country and provide them a hands-on experience that gives them insight into the complexities of the water industry.” The program is intended to educate and network within an industry. Rot adds, “these positions can possibly lead to permanent employment after the military.”
Retired Lieutenant Colonel and Scottsdale Water Executive Director Brian Biesemeyer initiated the SkillBridge program as a way to maximize the military skills that are not easily recognized by civilian employers. “Our service members are some of the most highly-skilled, qualified candidates to manage some of Water’s intricate programs,” said Biesemeyer. “To harness these talents and capitalize on the extensive knowledge of our military personnel is a win for both Scottsdale Water and our service members.
SkillBridge is a Department of Defense opportunity that matches civilian opportunities to job training and work experience at the end of military service. The program utilizes the last 180 days of active-duty service to train and learn with an industry partner. During participation, service members still receive military compensation and are not paid through the partnering organization.
Scottsdale Water plans to continue the SkillBridge opportunity into the future with the next candidate scheduled to begin this summer. “I hope this program can help connect service members to meaningful and essential work within the community,” said Biesemeyer. “We’ve already seen the benefits of the program within Scottsdale Water.”
While Duncan won’t complete the program until September, he says, “I’ve learned a lot about water in general. Not only has the program opened my eyes to the complexity of the industry, but I’ve truly enjoyed the people. Everyone has helped support me and I truly appreciate it.”
Duncan’s plan after completing Scottdale Water’s SkillBridge is to start fulltime at Arizona State University in the electrical engineering program and possibly transition from SCADA Intern to SCADA Apprentice.
Scottsdale Water – the city’s municipal water utility – has been providing quality drinking water and advanced reclamation services to Scottsdale businesses and residents for over 40 years. An industry leader, the utility has been recognized with the prestigious Platinum Award for Utility Excellence by the Association of Municipal Water Agencies.
CAPTION: SkillBridge Apprentice Kyle Duncan inspects the technological infrastructure at Scottsdale Water. This monitoring support the execution of water services to Scottsdale residents and businesses.