How Active Duty Members Get Paid Internships with Local and National Businesses

Derrick Evens, Carlos Ramos, Derek Barksdale

“Transitioning from military life to civilian life can’t be explained, it’s something you have to go through” - Derrick Evens

In the military, service members can become so accustomed to financial and job security for many years and find themselves ill-prepared for life after exiting. Making the transition is concerning for many, leaving them with thoughts of where and how they are going to get the funds to support their family post-separation.Thankfully, the Military offers an internship program called DoD SkillBridge. DoD Skillbridge initiative promotes the civilian job training authority available for transitioning military service members. This employment skills and training program is available to service members meeting certain qualifications. SkillBridge allows members to go into the civilian work force up to 6 months prior to exiting, complete an internship while still receiving military pay and allowances.

Carlos Ramos, a DoD SkillBridge participant found out about the program a couple of months ago from another service member who also completed the program. Carlos was interested in Real Estate and enrolled into Military Mutual's internship program, anxious to see whether or not this was the right career for him after military retirement .

Military Mutual is founded on the sole principle of giving back, in which, ensuring the benefits of military service is facilitated with discounts, resources, programs and services intended to empower its members to make informed real estate decisions alongside associate professionals who maintain a personal ownership interest in the relationship, mission, vision and company.

Prior to Carlos’ internship, he started taking Real Estate courses and studying for the Real Estate Licensing Exam. While in training for 30 days at Military Mutual, he shadowed CEO, Derek Barksdale. Carlos learned the skills necessary to be a successful Realtor from marketing, contracts, showings, mapping out one destination to the next in an efficient matter, to even something so simple as opening a lockbox. Post-internship, he passed the Real Estate exam and was immediately bale to help two military families with their Real Estate needs. Carlos found that Real Estate is a great career for military service members making a transition to the civilian life because of all the connections they have.

“It’s a win, win. Not only for Carlos, but for the people we were able to serve on behalf of Carlos.” - Derek Barksdale


       Carlos' client depicted above 

In Real Estate, you’re basically an entrepreneur, you run your own business. At Military Mutual, we have a team process, training, leadership, as well as a mentorship program. Military Mutual’s main focus is to giveback to the Military, Vets and families who use services as clients as well as employees. Our services are to ultimately eliminate the fear of owning a home while serving in the military. Everyone working at Military Mutual is some what affiliated with the military, so we know how tough times can be and we’re committed on making the thought and process of homeownership a pleasant experience.

Carlos was excited to get started and help people in the Military. He stated that he knew he wanted to stay in San Diego and be close to his other family members so purchasing a home in the area wasn’t a difficult decision. Unlike Carlos, majority of service members don’t purchase their home until they’re out of the military because of fear of the market and being transferred to another city, state or country.

Military Mutual is focused on eliminating those fears by offering property management for free if they get transferred within the first three years of them purchasing their home. Derek states, “It’s almost going to be something mandatory in the future. People don’t understand, military service members own their own homes. People think that ones in the military don’t get paid that well, that they can’t afford it, but the BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) allows for that.”

On a nationwide scale approximately ,

38% of Military active duty members own their own home.

22% live in base housing

7% live in privatized housing

The percentage of military members that own homes will have to increase because of the “blended retirement system,” which is taking away retirement pension in the future so they’re more responsive for developing their own investment tools and retire effectively.

Homeownership is a “critical foundation” to an ultimate retirement, the right way. The #1 expense in a person's life is their housing payment. The purpose of purchasing a home is so you don’t have to make those rent payments every month, you stop inflation and are no longer worried about the rent rising.

“If someone fights for our country, they ought to own a piece of it” 

- Derek Barksdale

Military Mutual helps service members when they have to transfer, and look at keeping their home as an investment tool or a hedge. You can have someone else pay rent to pay your mortgage off and ultimately go somewhere else and buy another home.

Derek stated that there's not just one exit strategy; but three. 1) A service memeber and their family can sell their home and draw an equity earned. 2) They can rent the property out and have the rental payment pay their mortgage. 3) The service member can move onto the next duty station while the family stays in the home. Obviously the third option is the least desired, but is one of the options that should be looked at as an exit strategy going into a PCS and home purchase. Military Mutual is committed on helping service members make the leap into homeownership and eliminating the fears of being transferred.

If you or a family member happen to be on active duty and close to a transition out of the military, go to the DoD SkillBridge website, to find out more about the internship program in your area. if you happen to be in Southern California and are interested in real estate contact us at for more information.