Seven years after graduating from the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) program, Army Spc. Christopher Rogan is enjoying a great career. He obtained his Master Plumbing license and built custom homes for two years. Today, he is a commercial plumbing inspector for the City of Austin.
He owes it all to the UA VIP program, which provided him a direct path to a UA registered apprenticeship after the military.
“The UA VIP program gave me a foot in the door to first become successful,” Rogan said. “It was the first step towards learning a trade that has opened endless opportunities for me.”
Rogan first entered the military because he knew college was not the right choice.
“The UA VIP program gave me the opportunity to learn a trade with endless avenues,” he said.
In 2015, Rogan began the Accelerated Welding Class 1 at Fort Campbell as part of the UA VIP program. He learned to weld alongside an experienced journeyman instructor. The 18-week course involved classroom instruction and on the job training that taught him basic welding skills.
He also earned industry-recognized certifications that served to propel his career after he got out of the military.
The welding students learn oxy fuel cutting, SMAW plate welding, SPAW and GTAW pipe welding and SMAW pipe spooling.
The UA VIP program offers training in welding, HVACR and fire sprinkler fitting at select military bases across the country.
A direct path to a good-paying career in the pipe trades
The UA VIP program is a DoD SkillBridge Program for transitioning active-duty service members. The UA VIP program guarantees a good paying civilian job for transitioning active-duty service members.
After graduating from the UA VIP program and transitioning out of the military, Rogan joined the UA registered apprenticeship program at Plumbers and Pipefitters UA Local 286 in central Texas. He earned good union pay as he learned and quickly became eligible for quality health insurance for his family. He received pay raises as he advanced his training and skill set. He also started earning a pension and a 401K for his retirement.
Rogan turned out as a journeyman in 2019. Over the course of his career, he worked on large underground steam and chill water utility jobs, new construction and remodel plumbing and pipefitting jobs of all sizes. He’s now a commercial plumbing inspector for the City of Austin.
Rogan credits the UA VIP program for an easy transition out of military and into a civilian career.
“Working in the construction industry keeps you busy,” he said. “There is always a new problem to solve every day.”
Rogan thanked the UA VIP program for providing him the opportunity to succeed.
“The UA VIP program provides a foot in the door to a great institution with absolutely endless opportunities,” he said. “You have to put in the work and soak up every piece of knowledge you can. Just like anything else, you get out what you put in.”