The United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Program honored the graduates of Fort Carson Welding Class 16 with an on-base commencement ceremony.
The free career skills program provides active-duty transitioning military service members with 18-weeks of a piping industry education and hands-on lab work. UA VIP graduates are guaranteed employment through a UA signatory contractor in an agreed upon location nationwide, plus direct entry into the UA’s five-year apprenticeship program.
“It was an honor to serve our country,” said Army Specialist Anthony Morrison, who is also a graduate of Welding Class 16. “The VIP Program honors our soldiers by giving you the opportunity to continue serving the nation in the skilled trades with the same outstanding benefits as serving our great nation.”
The graduation was held at the Freedom Performing Arts Center located on base at Fort Carson. The ceremony was very well attended by Fort Carson leadership including Fort Carson Garrison Commander Brian K. Wortinger and Fort Carson Command Sergeant Major Kenyatta L. Mack. UA VIP program administrator Mike Hazard emceed the ceremony. Keynote speakers included Fort Carson Director of Human Resources Mr. Mike Webb and retired Major General Anders Aadland.
The UA VIP Program helps alleviate the stress often faced by transitioning service members as they prepare to leave active-duty. Instead of worrying about finding a job and supporting their family, UA VIP graduates leave the military knowing they have a job lined up, which pays livable wages and provides excellent health insurance and retirement benefits, including a pension and 401k.
Once UA VIP graduates enter the UA’s five-year apprenticeship program, they will improve upon their existing skills, gain new skills and acquire industry experience. They will also receive corresponding hourly wage increases from their employer as they progress through the apprenticeship program. Upon completing the apprenticeship program, they will become UA journeymen.
Fort Carson UA VIP Welding Instructor Jason Smith called it an honor and a pleasure to instruct these graduates, whom will soon be protecting the country in a different way.
“They will be keeping our schools running with heating and cooling, our power houses producing power, our hospitals being able to provide medical gases, heating and cooling and other lifesaving technologies,” Smith said. “They will be a key factor in keeping our military bases up and running to provide protection to our great nation. They will be installing the heart, soul, veins and arteries in every building that they work on. I am confident that these soldiers will make an excellent addition to our organization."