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Camp Lejeune Welding Class 26 reaches mid-way point of UA VIP training

The students in the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Camp Lejeune Welding Class 26 are officially halfway through their accelerated welding training. 

At this point in the class, students have found out where they will begin their DOL-registered UA apprenticeship after they graduate from the program and transition out of the military. 

UA VIP is a DOD SkillBridge program created to assist active-duty service members as they transition out of the military and into rewarding civilian careers in the pipe trades.

Marine Sgt. Camron Tuttle likes the way the class is structured and said he didn’t have trouble adjusting to the classroom setting. 

“This experience has been great,” he said. “The instructors do a good job with teaching as well as being good leaders to us.” 

So far, Tuttle has learned what Class 26 calls “pipe math,” OSHA conduct and a good general basis on how to weld. 

Tuttle discovered the UA VIP program after seeing a banner at the education center at Camp Lejeune and knew it would be a great fit for him. 

“I wanted to be a welder before I even joined the service and I saw the opportunity to do it again, so I took it,” he said. “I didn’t look into other options because I really only wanted to do this one. I’ve only heard good things about the VIP program.”

Tuttle recommends the UA VIP program to any service members looking to transition from the military to civilian life. 

“If you want the best instructors, the most hands-on time and guaranteed job placement, join this program,” he said. 

In September, Tuttle will begin his five-year apprenticeship at Plumbers, Pipefitters and Welders Local 146, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Other Class 26 students will begin their apprenticeships at Local 562 in Missouri, Local 146 in Texas, Local 72 in Georgia, Local 421 in North Carolina, Local 602 in Washington, D.C. and Local 32 in Washington. 

Join the UA today 

Active-duty military members in their last six months of service can apply for the UA VIP program and begin training in welding, fire suppression or HVACR. 

After Welding Class 26 students graduate from the UA VIP program and transition out of the military, they will join a DOL-registered apprenticeship program and begin working for a UA signatory contractor. 

While working as apprentices, UA VIP graduates will make a livable wage and qualify for full-family medical benefits and retirement benefits, including a 401K and pension. 

When apprentices turn out and become journeymen, they will open more doors for further career advancement. 

All active-duty service members planning to transition out of the military looking for guaranteed job security are encouraged to apply for the UA VIP program