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Camp Pendleton Welding Class 37 begins training for civilian careers

Camp Pendleton Welding Class 37 begins training for civilian careers

For Marine Cpl. Jalen Nason, one of the hardest things about transitioning out of the military is deciding what to do next. He had dedicated the last several years to serving his country. How would he continue to support his family after the military?

The United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) program offered the perfect transition and a great opportunity. The UA VIP program is a Career Skills Program (CSP) for transitioning active-duty service members.

The UA VIP teaches basic construction skills in preparation for civilian careers in the pipe trades.

Nason had already done some welding in high school and really enjoyed it.

“The UA VIP program offered me the chance to do what I enjoy doing, and a job placement that was truly unbeatable,” Nason said.

Nason is one of 16 students in Welding Class 37 that just began at Camp Pendleton. Over the course of 18 weeks, the students will learn to weld alongside experienced journeyman instructors through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training. They will earn industry certifications that give them a leg up on their peers and propel their progress into UA registered apprenticeships after they complete the program and transition out of the military.

The students will learn and earn certifications for oxy fuel cutting, SMAW plate welding, SPAW and GTAW pipe welding and SMAW pipe spooling.

“The UA VIP program is completely free and provides useful certifications,” Marine Lance Cpl. Dakota Blew said. “I get to learn how to weld in a specific line of work I’m looking to get into. After I get out of the military and am placed with a union, hopefully I can become a journeyman and just be as successful and as rich as possible.”

Guaranteed job placement after the military

It was the direct path to unions with guaranteed job placement that first attracted Marine Sgt. David Tharp to the UA VIP program.

“I’m looking to refine my skills and get into a Local,” Tharp said. “The inside connection the UA VIP program provides to the unions is pretty great.”

After completing the UA VIP program and transitioning out of the military, the 18 members of Welding Class 37 will go on to join a UA union at an agreed upon location and begin a registered apprenticeship program. They will earn good pay and quickly be eligible for quality healthcare for their family. They start earning a pension and a 401K for their retirement. Pay gradually increases as they progress through the program.

“I had done a bit of welding before I joined the military,” Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony Ramirez said. “This was the career choice I wanted. I saw this provided guaranteed job placement out of the military, and that really appealed to me. Right now, I’m like a sponge. I’m learning everything I can to eventually become a journeyman.”

The United Association Veterans in Piping program offers training in welding, HVACR and fire sprinkler fitting. Training takes place at select military bases around the country.

Download the Camp Pendleton VIP Program Application Now!

Camp Pendleton UA VIP Welding Class 37