After three and a half years of active duty with the United States Army, including a twelve-month deployment to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom, Akini Celestine entered the United Association (UA) Veterans in Piping (VIP) Program to gain the skills needed for a fulfilling career in the pipe trades.
Celestine graduated from the third welding class at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on February 20th, 2014. Since graduation, he affiliated with UA Local 1 in New York City and is in the third year of his apprenticeship.
Celestine has received regularly scheduled wage raises and said he’s working hard to gain the certifications needed to continue to be successful throughout his apprenticeship with the United Association. Reflecting on the UA VIP Program and his career outlook, Celestine says “The opportunities here are phenomenal, and I'm forever grateful to everyone who made this possible.”