John Hoffman was selected to be the first Intern for the University of Arizona Applied Research Corporation (UA-ARC) SkillBridge Gateway Program, a position designed to transition Veterans from active military service, to a successful civilian career.
A bit about John:
1LT John Hoffman is a Tucson native who has been on active military duty serving as a U.S. Army Military Intelligence Officer for the past four years. 1LT Hoffman graduated from the University of Arizona in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and Administration. He commissioned into the U.S. Army through the University of Arizona’s ROTC Program, in which he served as the Cadet Battalion Commander in his final year.
1LT Hoffman started his active duty career stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii where he served as an Infantry Battalion Intelligence Officer. During this time 1LT Hoffman completed a four-month training rotation in the Pacific where he worked with and trained members of the armed forces from Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines. 1LT Hoffman also served as a Platoon leader for Human and Signals Intelligence Collectors. His platoon became one of the first units in the U.S. Army to successfully complete the Army’s new certification process for Intelligence Collectors in a Tactical environment. 1LT Hoffman’s most recent position was out of Fort Huachuca, where he served as the Executive Officer for the Military Intelligence Basic Officer’s Course, a school responsible for the training and certification of over 500 Military Intelligence Officers yearly, many of which come from our Partner Nations.
John has recently decided to separate from active duty service in order to provide some location stability for his family. John was selected to be the first Intern for the University of Arizona Applied Research Corporation (UA-ARC) SkillBridge Gateway Program, a position designed to transition Veterans from active military service, to a successful civilian career.
“The DoD SkillBridge program is a critical opportunity available to Active Duty Service Members during their last six months on active duty. It is one of many resources available to transitioning veterans, however it is unique in the fact that it allows them to participate in an internship with a Company or program of their choosing, related to the career field they wish to pursue following their separation.” Hoffman said. “It provides service members an invaluable experience to transition both their mindset and professional network from a military focus to the civilian market. Both of those areas are one’s veterans historically struggle with, as the culture of the two can be very different at times.”
The UA-ARC SkillBridge is one of three currently listed on the DoD SkillBridge Website, in the Tucson Area.
“When I first began applying for internships, I was a bit discouraged as the majority of them weren’t in operation due to the impacts of COVID-19. When I found the UA-ARC on the SkillBridge website I applied and received a response almost immediately from the Program Director, Patrick Kerr. Within two weeks of submitting my resume and cover letter I had the opportunity to have a virtual meeting with UA-ARC President Austin Yamada and received notification I was accepted into their program.” Hoffman said.
UA-ARCs primary focus is in the areas of cyber, hypersonics, optics, human performance, and space situational awareness, but the SkillBridge Gateway program is accommodating to Veterans of all backgrounds and is designed to align participants with opportunities across UArizona and many of their community partner companies.
“Prior to my application to the UA-ARC Gateway Program I was unsure if I met the qualifications needed to be successful in the program as my background isn’t in any of the fields listed on their website and my military experience was more tactical than technical. These hesitations were disbanded almost immediately. The UA-ARC team made it clear that their program isn’t designed for specific translation of Military Occupational Specialties, but rather aimed at bringing in highly motivated and mission driven individuals to further their mission. Applicants can expect to submit their resume and introduction, followed by an interview with UA-ARC’s senior leadership. After I was accepted, the responsibility fell back on me to ensure I went through all the proper channels on my end to get it approved through my local Transition Office and Chain of Command,” said Hoffman.
UA-ARC’s team of executives has a diverse and robust network of industry partner contacts for their interns to shadow and connect with for future employment. Their desire is to pair interns with a “Gateway Track” that will allow interns to pursue continued education, direct employment, or industry experience. The end goal is for every intern to walk away with a plan to complete professional certificates and have relevant experience in their desired field through their Capstone Project.
“I am currently completing the UA-ARC ‘Experience Gateway Track’. My goal is to move into the Project Management field following my transition. My UA-ARC mentor, Patrick Kerr, has aligned me with a few UA-ARC project managers for me to shadow, as well as identified some personal goals for me to achieve. I will be completing my Project Manager Professional certificate before the end of the internship, as well as looking into pursing my MBA through UArizona. My capstone project is targeted at designing a program for UA-ARC that will allow Interns who come after me to transition into different positions and programs across UArizona. This has given me an opportunity to not only receive feedback from all of the dedicated UA-ARC mentors, but also grow my network of industry contacts across Tucson. I feel very confident I will have employment opportunities in Project Management following my internship.”