Contracting unit promotes Skillbridge Program to cross divides

By Maj. George Sawyer, 921st Contracting BattalionMarch 12, 2024

Contracting unit promotes Skillbridge Program to cross divides
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Monica Napoleon and Genesis Isaac stand outside Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii March 1 at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Napolean is a contracting specialist and Isaac is a transportation officer serving as the 921st Contracting Battalion adjutant as she transitions out of active duty through the DOD Skillbridge Program. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Contracting unit promotes Skillbridge Program to cross divides
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sharon Oishi presents Nick Zehr the Army Civilian Service Achievement Medal as the 413th Contracting Brigade 2023 Category II Civilian of the Year recently at Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Oishi is the 413th CSB deputy commander, and Zehr is a contracting specialist with Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii who used the DOD Skillbridge Program to transfer from active duty to a civilian job. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii (March 12, 2024) – When 1st Lt. Genesis Isaac was ready to separate from the Army a chance encounter with a lunchmate changed her future when asked: “Have you considered contracting?”

Monica Napoleon, a retired Navy logistics chief and current employee of Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii, asked the lieutenant the question in a casual conversation between strangers waiting for lunch that turned into a recruiting pitch and discussion on transitioning to civilian life.

Isaac accepted the invitation and started her DOD Skillbridge Program internship at Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii on March 1.

The DOD Skillbridge Program allows separating or retiring military members the opportunity to spend up to 180 days in an internship program with industry. Soldiers retain their Army pay and benefits while getting hands-on experience and connections in a desired field. The internship does not guarantee a job, but does provide training, mentorship, and an opportunity for Soldiers to see if their interest lies in that field.

Interns with the Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii are expected to become familiar with the basics of simplified acquisition procedures, starting with basic market research and leading to procurement of commercial supplies and services.

In this post-COVID age of intense talent competition, Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii is finding great success in identifying and hiring talent. Isaac is the third intern at the contracting office, and the prior two accepted positions to continue working at Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii after their internships.

Nick Zehr was the first intern with the contracting office and quickly adjusted to the acquisition environment.

“Acquisition is not the easiest profession to join from outside the community,” said Zehr who is a Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii contract specialist. “As an Army logistics captain, I looked into the DOD Skillbridge Program after starting the Transition Assistance Program expressing interest with my organization to request an internship at the 413th Contracting Support Brigade. This internship provided the exposure necessary to become proficient in researching regulation and completing basic contract actions, ultimately leading to a new career.”

Zehr was offered a full-time position after the internship period and with his work ethic, attitude and expertise, became the 413th CSB 2023 Category II Civilian of the Year.

"The DOD Skillbridge Program allows us to identify quality candidates, provide a low threat environment to see if we are a good fit, and then utilize direct hire authority to fill vacancies,” said Lorenzo Lopez, the Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii director. “We save time on the recruiting process and hire employees who are intimately familiar with the Army and our customers. DOD Skillbridge Program has lowered organizational hiring stress and created a win-win for everyone involved!”

For individuals or organizations interested in participating in the DOD Skillbridge Program, please contact your local military personnel division, or go to for additional information.

The men and women of Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii provide comprehensive cradle-to-grave contracting, business advisory support and sustained expertise to U.S. Army Pacific and Installation Management Command-Pacific. Its contracting and procurement expertise includes installation and base operations, minor construction and repair, and Logistics Civil Augmentation Program support throughout the Pacific. Regional Contracting Office-Hawaii provides mission partners with access to innovative and agile solutions through interface with industry and small business while meeting mission partners’ needs in the most effective, economical and timely manner.

About Army Contracting Command

The Army Contracting Command is headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. From food and clothing to bullets and bombs; from tanks and trucks to boats and aircraft; from Soldiers' weapons to the installations where they work and live with their families, ACC ensures Soldiers have what they need to be successful. As the Army's principal buying agent, ACC supports Army readiness and modernization by using best practices and expert-level oversight to provide warfighters with premier contracting support. The command accomplishes its global operational missions with a professional workforce of Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, foreign local nationals and contractors at more than 100 locations worldwide.