Take a look at some of the newsworthy items for the VIP program.

Army sergeant had stress-free transition from military thanks to UA VIP program

Army Sgt. Jaime Chavez knew he would need a new career when he transitioned out of the military. After learning about the UA VIP program, he knew it would set him up for a successful future. 

Chavez enrolled in Fort Carson Welding Class 20 in 2021 when he was still in the military. During the program, he learned the fundamentals of welding through both classroom and hands-on instruction and earned industry-recognized certifications. jc family

UA VIP students in welding classes can earn certificates in oxy-fuel cutting, SMAW plate welding, SPAW and GRAW pipe welding and SMAW pipe spooling. These certifications can give graduates a leg up when they start their civilian careers.

“The transition from the military to the UA was really easy,” he said. “I had no stress or worries when I transitioned.” 

After graduating from the VIP program in 2021 and transitioning out of the military, Chavez began his five-year apprenticeship program at UA Local 469 in Phoenix, where he still is today. 

While in his apprenticeship, he earned good union pay and quality health insurance including a pension and a 401K. As he expanded his knowledge in the trade he received regular raises. 

Now Chavez is a fourth-year apprentice working for Bel Aire Mechanical.

Chavez always wanted to learn how to weld and the VIP program’s guaranteed job placement made the program stand out against others.

Since graduating from the program, Chavez has worked on projects that consist of welding pipe, underground plumbing and pipe work for a new bathroom construction. 

Chavez strongly encourages all active-duty transitioning service members to apply for the UA VIP program. He said it is the best decision and your future self will thank you.

“Applying for the UA VIP program was the best choice I could have made for getting out of the military,” he added. 

Civilian life in the pipe trades

The UA VIP program is a DOD SkillBridge Program designed to help active-duty service members smoothly transition out of the military and into a civilian career in the pipe trades.

Students who graduate from the VIP program will be placed at a UA Local Union at an agreed-upon location to complete their five-year apprenticeship. jaime chavez

After successfully completing their apprenticeship program, UA VIP graduates will achieve the status of journeymen, opening up an abundance of opportunities for career advancement. 

Journeymen have the opportunity to progress into other career-advancing roles such as foreman, superintendent, UA signatory contractors, business owners, instructors and more. 

The UA VIP program, now lasting 118 days, is accepting applications for future welding, HVACR and fire suppression classes. UA VIP training is conducted at select military bases across the country.