Our veterans deserve our support.

As our active duty military members prepare to leave the service and return home, many of our youger veterans are facing an unemployment rate significantly higher than non-veterans in the same age group.

Meanwhile, the construction industry across the country is in need of a young, capable workforce...fast! The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a need of nearly 21,000 welders by 2022, and this number will only continue to grow as baby boomers retire.

Our answer: the UA Veterans in Piping Program.

To facilitate the career training of as many soon-to-be veterans as possible, the United Association and the U.S. military have created an infrastructure of mobile training facilities, online studies, accelerated training and other educational options. Our training program provides accelerated, 18-week courses in the piping trades that offers those preparing to leave the service the opportunity to quickly re-enter the workforce with solid skills and a sustainable career upon their retirement.

As a Legislator, what can you do?

The UA VIP Program was created to assist returning veterans in transitioning from military careers to civilian life. It begins with recruiting military personnel prior to their discharge and providing them with valuable skills and training opportunities while they are still on active duty. This allows them to be immediately placed into good jobs in the private sector upon discharge so they can hit the ground running when they return to their homes and families. This process was made possible as a result of Congress enacting the VOW to Hire Heroes Act in 2011.

The UA VIP Program, which has been recognized as one of the most effective veteran's assistance programs in the country, has successfully placed almost 1,000 returning veterans into gainful employment in various industries, especially construction. All of this work has been done entirely with private funding without government assistance.

We want to do more and could use your help. One of the best ways to create more good training and employment opportunities for veterans is to promote the use of contractors who participate in these types of programs by enacting legislation that recognizes the "value-added" services such companies provide on federal contracts.

By encouraging the use of such contractors, we will create more jobs and opportunities for returning veterans and also enhance the quality of services provided on federal construction sites and other federal contracts. Our military personnel have sacrificed so much for us; we must be able to find a way to help them in their return to civilian life.

Help us put the brave men and women that fight for our country back to work. Contact the UA Veterans in Piping Program today to learn how you can support our award-winning training program.