United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Accelerated Welding Class 5 graduate Brandon Simpson is nearing the end of his time as an apprentice and will soon become a journeyman.
In 2016 Simpson, an Army Sergeant stationed at Fort Campbell, was beginning to transition out of the military.
He learned about the UA VIP Program, an 18-week Accelerated Welding Career Skills program open to any active-duty transitioning military service member. The purpose of the program is to provide service members with career training and guaranteed employment to help alleviate the stress of trying to find a career after transitioning from the armed forces.
Simpson, now a fifth year UA apprentice, was attracted to the program when he learned about the career opportunities available to certified UA welders, while not having to attend college and go into massive student loan debt.
The VIP welding graduate said the UA VIP Program gave him a foothold into a trade he considers is the best job in the current economy without a college degree.
When encouraging others to apply to the program, Simpson has advocated for the United Association and the benefits they provide.
“Go for it,” Simpson said. “Trade unions are the way to go. Overall best pay, benefits and pension.”
The VIP program opens the door to some of the best career prospects in the piping industry, as graduates are guaranteed a job with a United Association signatory contractor in an agreed upon location nationwide. This job provides them with a livable wage, family health insurance and retirement benefits such as a 401k and a pension.
The prospect of having a good paying job without having to attend college was exactly what Simpson was looking for when he transitioned back into civilian life. He feels the program prepared him to enter into the job market with the skills needed to begin a career in an industry facing a future shortage of workers.
In addition to a job with a UA signatory contractor, VIP graduates are also guaranteed direct entry into the United Association’s five-year apprenticeship program, where they will further advance their education and skillset through on-the-job training from experienced journeymen, and classroom instruction from accredited instructors.
To learn more about the VIP program at Fort Campbell, click here.