The United Association Veterans in Piping Program celebrated the recent graduation of its ninth welding class at Fort Campbell with an Open House, where the graduates showed off their newly obtained welding skills to family and special guests.
On May 3, 20 transitioning active-duty service members of Fort Carson graduated from the free 18-week training program, which teaches active-duty military service members who are preparing to leave the service with lifelong skills to begin a successful career in the pipe trades industry.
“I am extremely proud of all these soldiers,” said Fort Campbell UA VIP Instructor Michael Smith. “Every one of these students has shown endless patience throughout this course. The United Association has provided all of them the opportunity to continue on into a successful career outside the Army and for the rest of their lives.”
“I feel very honored to have gotten the opportunity to teach these students a very small part of everything the UA has to offer,” added Smith. “Every one of these men will make an outstanding apprentice for the UA.”
The 20 transitioning active-duty service members of Class 9 learned basic welding skills and earned welding certifications, which will be put to use after graduation and successful transition from the armed forces.
Each member is guaranteed a job that provides a livable wage and good health and retirement benefits. This means the members of Welding Class 9 will not face the stress that often accompanies members of the armed forces who are transitioning from the service to civilian life. While some service members struggle to find good-paying jobs to provide for their families, UA VIP graduates are guaranteed employment with a UA signatory contractor in an agreed upon geographical location.
In addition to being placed in an in-demand job, UA VIP graduates enter a five-year UA apprenticeship program with a UA Local in their designated area. During their apprenticeship, they will receive both on-the-job and classroom instruction to further their skillset in the pipe trades and earn additional industry-leading certifications. As they progress, apprentices receive standard wage increases that reflect the value of their increased skillset.
Currently, the skills and certifications earned by UA VIP participants at Fort Campbell and seven other bases throughout the country are in high-demand, as there is an increasing need for skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen in the pipe trades. UA signatory contractors who hire UA VIP graduates are not just gaining someone with the skills and certifications to do the work, but an employee who understands how to work under pressure, understands the importance of showing up on-time, every day and is willing to listen to their superiors.
Transitioning military service members can apply for this intensive 18-week program that includes classroom and hands-on skills instruction, which is provided free of cost on eight military bases across the country.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Fort Campbell UA VIP Program can click on this link to submit their contact information.