The students in Fort Campbell Welding Class 20 are laying the foundations for their future.
Thanks to the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) program, the students are learning key skills in preparation for a welding career in the pipe trades.
The UA VIP program is a DOD Skillbridge program that guarantees transitioning active-duty service members a civilian job in the form of a UA registered apprenticeship after they leave the military.
For 18 weeks, the UA VIP students will train alongside an experienced journeyman instructor through classroom instruction and hands-on learning. They will learn basic skills, and many will earn industry-recognized certifications in 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 suppression – learning how to install, repair and maintain fire sprinkler systems. Training takes place at select military bases across the country.
There are currently nine programs operating at seven locations nationwide, serving all branches of the military. Service members stationed at neighboring installations are highly encouraged to apply for the UA VIP program nearest them. Each base has its own specialty:
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord offers training in welding and HVAC.
- Camp Pendleton offers training in welding.
- Fort Carson offers training in welding.
- Fort Hood offers training in welding.
- Camp Lejeune offers training in welding.
- Fort Campbell offers training in welding and fire suppression.
- Naval Station Norfolk offers training in HVAC.
Transitioning active-duty service members are invited to apply for the UA VIP program during their last six months of service.
A great career with good pay and benefits
Once the Class 20 students complete their UA VIP training and transition out of the military, they will begin a UA registered apprenticeship at an agreed-upon location. They will earn good union pay while they learn and quickly qualify for quality health insurance for their family. They will start earning a pension and a 401K for their retirement. Their pay will increase as they advance through the program.
Once they complete their apprenticeship, they will become journeymen with numerous opportunities for advancement. Some will eventually become foremen or superintendents. Others may go on to start their own business. Some will become UA VIP instructors, perhaps even in the UA VIP program.