Union Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Technicians


Take a look at some of the newsworthy items for the VIP program.

Fort Carson graduate found transition from military to the UA to be easy


United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Program graduate Darren Eddings was pleased with the simplicity of his transition from the armed forces to the UA.

Eddings, an Army Specialist, was stationed at Fort Carson and decided to attend a question and answer session, which featured previous graduates of the UA VIP Program. The speakers, who had once been in his position as an active-duty transitioning military service member, told their stories about their new career in the UA. Thanks to that session, Eddings was hooked on the VIP program and applied for a spot in Welding Class 4.

The UA VIP program is an 18-week career skills program, which is open to any active-duty transitioning military service member. During the program, participants receive their normal military pay while they attend class during the day, which teaches them basic piping industry skills in order to give them a new career after they leave the military.

Unlike other career skills programs, the UA VIP program is 100% free of charge and guarantees participants a job with a UA contractor in one of nearly 300 locations nationwide once they transition out of the armed forces. These jobs provide a livable wage, excellent family health insurance and great retirement benefits such as a 401k and a pension.

Additionally, graduates are also guaranteed a spot in the UA’s five-year registered apprenticeship, where they will receive on-the-job and classroom training to improve their industry knowledge and skillset. As apprentices, they will receive scheduled pay raises to recognize their new skills and advancement through the training program.

Darren Eddings

Following graduation from Welding Class 4 and transitioning out of the Army, Eddings began working as an apprentice through UA Local 58 in Colorado Springs the next day.

“It was a relief to start working with the UA and show up on the job the next day after I was discharged,” Eddings said.

While many service members struggle to adjust to civilian life, including finding a career after transitioning out, the UA VIP Program provides a pathway to a successful life by equipping military members with skills they can apply to this new job. This helps to reduce stress as well.

Eddings, now a UA Local 58 journeyman, encourages other service members to get involved in the UA VIP Program.

“If you can learn the skill that is being taught, whichever discipline you choose to start with, you can make a great wage,” he said. “And apprentices get steady raises until they become journeymen.”

To learn more about the UA VIP program at Fort Carson, click here.