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Army veteran thanks VIP program for easy transition to civilian life

U.S. Army Veteran Ryan Hammond joined the Veterans in Piping (VIP) program in May with plans to learn new skills that will prepare him for a rewarding civilian career as an HVAC-R technician. 

Hammond started his training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where he learned the fundamentals of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. Now, he’s an apprentice at UA Local 32 in Seattle. 

During his time in the VIP program, Hammond was trained by experienced journeymen instructors who provided both classroom and hands-on training. 

The former sergeant is in the first year of his apprenticeship and is thankful for everything that he learned in the UA VIP program because it made his transition out of the military as easy as possible. 

“Completing the HVAC-R program truly accelerated my acceptance and entry into the industry as an apprentice,” Hammond said. “The focused training provided critical base knowledge, understanding, skills and certifications needed to hit the ground running in this trade.”

Now, Hammond works as an HVAC-R technician for RUI. Ryan Hammond

Since graduating from the VIP program, Hammond has worked on refrigeration, hotside, HVAC and dish machine services. 

“I felt this program really tried to ensure that we were working as soon as possible when we transitioned out of the military so that alone was critical for me to ensure that I still had an income,” he said. 

Hammond was welcomed to the Local and the UA by his former VIP instructor, Dave Gibson. 

Benefits of the UA VIP program 

After successfully completing the UA VIP program and transitioning out of the military, VIP graduates receive guaranteed job placement and entry into a DOL-registered UA apprenticeship program.  

While completing the five-year UA apprenticeship, apprentices earn good wages and quality family healthcare. 

A proud graduate of JBLM HVAC-R Class 27, Hammond encourages all fellow military service members to consider applying for the UA VIP program. 

All transitioning active-duty service members are encouraged to apply for entrance into the program. UA VIP offers training in welding, HVAC-R or fire suppression at one of seven bases nationwide.