For the graduates of Fort Carson Welding Class 24, the transition to civilian life has been easier because their post-military career path is set.
It’s all thanks to the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) program, which taught the students basic skills to begin careers in the pipe trades after they transition out of the military.
The UA VIP program is a DoD Skillbridge program that guarantees transitioning active-duty service members a lucrative career via a UA registered apprenticeship at an agreed-upon location.
Over the course of 18 weeks, the graduates trained alongside an experienced journeyman through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience. They learned basic skills and many earned industry-recognized certifications that will propel their careers when they begin their apprenticeship.
"The UA VIP class is structured great,” Army Sgt. Lathal Manygoats said. “The instructors were very informative and willing to help. The program allows someone to learn how to weld and progressively gets harder, making you learn how to do better as you complete each task."
Transitioning active-duty service members are invited to apply to the UA VIP program during their last six months of service. UA VIP training is available in welding, HVAC and fire suppression – learning the basics to install, inspect, repair and maintain fire sprinkler systems. UA VIP training is available at seven military bases across the country.
- 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.
Service members stationed at neighboring installations are highly encouraged to apply for the UA VIP program nearest them.
The beginnings of a great welding career with the UA
Once the graduates transition out of the military, they will begin a UA registered apprenticeship at an agreed-upon location. They will earn good union wages while they train and quickly qualify for quality health insurance for their family. They will begin earning a pension and a 401K for their retirement.
As they advance their training, they will earn steady pay raises as they progress through the program.
Once they complete their training, the graduates will become journeymen with numerous opportunities for career advancement. They can eventually go on to become a foreman, an instructor, a superintendent, a project manager, a union officer or one day, own their own business.