Christus Health announced May 9 a partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide active U.S. service members with on-the-job training in the health care industry through the SkillBridge program.

According to a news release, SkillBridge is a paid program that provides work experience to service members during their final 180 days of service as they prepare for their transition out of the military.

“This program is a great opportunity for former service members like myself to find a career we can thrive in while gaining additional experience and knowledge on top of the training I received in the military,” said Shelby Lopez, a Christus Health employee who experienced the SkillBridge program, in a statement. “It has been an incredible journey, and I am blessed to have received this opportunity.”

Each year, about 200,000 members of the U.S. armed forces transition out of active duty, the release states. The SkillBridge program is funded by the DOD, and it has to date allowed Christus Health to welcome 50 new employees. The program is active at all Christus hospitals in the San Antonio area, and across Texas and Louisiana.

Luis Sepulveda, talent acquisition manager for Christus Health System, said his organization’s goal is to give veterans a sustainable career path outside of the military.

“We aim to find them the area in which they can thrive and grow within Christus. We are so fortunate to be able to launch this program in several of our ministries and have plans to expand it throughout our entire system,” Sepulveda said in a statement.

Christus Health officials said there are several areas service members can work and learn in within Christus hospitals clinics and administrative offices. The program is open to all ranks, rates, specialty codes, military occupation specialties and branches of service.

Stephanie Parker, CEO of Christus Santa Rosa Health System, said each service member has a unique set of skills, and her organization is seeking to support them in adapting those skills as they transition out of the military.

“Our mission is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, and we believe these veterans, who dedicated their lives to our country, should be given the opportunity to grow within a system that will fully support them,” she said in a statement.