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  4. CBP SkillBridge Success Story – A Hiring Manager’s Perspective

CBP SkillBridge Success Story – A Hiring Manager’s Perspective

Release Date
Thu, 03/23/2023

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) partners with the Department of Defense (DoD), SkillBridge internship program to provide transitioning servicemembers the opportunity to transition into permanent CBP positions at no cost to the agency.

CBP began collaborating with the SkillBridge program agency-wide in fiscal year (FY) 2022 with resounding success. CBP’s Human Resources Management (HRM), Policy and Regulatory Affairs Division (HRPRA), was one of the first divisions to host SkillBridge interns at CBP headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Jill Demella
Jill DeMella, Human Resources Management, Policy and Regulatory Affairs Division, Director

“I oversee a top-notch team that promotes CBP-wide Human Resources polices, directives, delegation of authorities, and other regulatory guidance and procedures that support the effectiveness, operational consistency, and statutory/regulatory compliance of HRM programs and functions”, explained Jill DeMella, the division’s director. She continued, “Moreover, through the delivery of forward-looking policy and regulatory solutions, this team of professionals guides and supports CBP leadership and key stakeholders in their workforce management needs.”

In 2022, HRPRA experienced significant internal capacity challenges due to a myriad of operational requirements. The division was working hard to improve internal performance and business operations to better understand and anticipate CBP partners’ workforce requirements. In order meet these operational demands, we augmented its talent recruitment strategies by reviewing and leveraging various non-funded hiring pipelines within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and across government. The hiring pipeline that provided the best return on investment was the DOD SkillBridge.

“Through the support of CBP’s Veterans Employment Program Manager (VEPM), who directly assists transitioning service-members and veterans in securing careers across the agency with a variety of strategies, we were able to recruit two active-duty service members: one from the U.S. Air Force and the other from the U.S. Marine Corps,” said DeMella. “As Knowledge Management Specialists, they supported our knowledge management initiative by establishing an in-house knowledge management capability that centralizes all HR policies, directives, delegation of authorities, handbooks, and other HR regulatory and governing documents to support CBP workforce needs.”

DeMella continued, “CBP hiring managers, if you are considering adding the DoD SkillBridge as one of your non-funded recruitment pipelines, it will be one of the best decisions you will make. You will not only give servicemembers an opportunity to gain valuable civilian work experience through training and development, but also gain early access to the extensive experience, skills, and unmatched work ethos that service members bring to the workforce.”

CBP VEPM Program Manager Jeffrey Jack, who oversees the national placement of DoD SkillBridge interns into non-law enforcement, mission support professions across the agency, noted that, “SkillBridge interns are no-cost to the agency, fired up to prove themselves for possible non-competitive hire outside of the process, and armed with a work ethic that is unmatched.”

SkillBridge participants must be at least 12 months from separating due to the CBP Background Investigation (BI) process that must be completed prior to the internship start date.

To learn more about participating in the DoD SkillBridge program nationally, as either a CBP hiring manager or a transitioning servicemember from any branch in the military, please contact the CBP VEPM at

Last Modified: Mar 23, 2023