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

Fort Cavazos Class 25 students halfway through accelerated welding training

With nine weeks down, Fort Cavazos Welding Class 25 students are halfway through the United Association Veterans In Piping (UA VIP) program. 

Through both classroom and hands-on training, students are learning basic welding skills to prepare them for a civilian career in the pipe trades, after they transition out of the military. 

The UA VIP program is a DOD Skillbridge Program designed to smoothly transition active-duty service members into civilian careers by providing on-base training during their last six months of military commitment. 

Army Spc. and UA VIP student Jesus Almaguer said he is having a great experience in the UA VIP program, so far, thanks to his helpful instructors and classmates.

“I’ve had an awesome experience so far,” he said. “My classmates and instructors are really cool and will help you out when you ask.”

After learning about the UA VIP program, Almaguer was immediately interested and said no other program stood out to him the way UA VIP did. 

“Anyone thinking about applying for the UA VIP program should absolutely apply as they will be learning a really valuable skill while they get away from the military life,” he added. 

Other students, like Army Cpl. Javyn Mays agreed that the UA VIP program stood out more than any other program he came across. 

“The UA VIP program stood out to me because it was an opportunity to learn a hands on trade that provides resources to a secure job upon transitioning out of the military,” he said. “It is a free program and helps us soldiers feel secure with income upon leaving job security and pay from the Army.”

The students of Fort Cavazos Welding Class 25 agree that they recommend the UA VIP program to anyone looking to transition out of the military back into civilian life. 

The benefits of the UA VIP program 

Students who graduate from the UA VIP program will be rewarded with guaranteed job placement and direct entry into a DOL-registered UA apprenticeship program at an agreed-upon location.

Almaguer will be placed at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 100 in Dallas, TX. Mays will begin his apprenticeship at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 286 in Austin, TX.

UA members have ample opportunities for career growth. Starting as an apprentice, the UA provides classroom and on-the-job training to grow and develop apprentices into highly skilled journey-level workers. 

Once an apprentice tops out of the apprenticeship program and becomes a journeyman, the career pathway expands. Journeymen can become foremen, superintendents, UA officers, business owners or an instructor.

Apprentices can earn good wages and quickly qualify for quality healthcare after starting the apprenticeship program. 

Class 25 students have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications in oxy-fuel cutting, SMAW plate welding, SPAW and GTAW pipe welding and SMAW pipe spooling by the time they graduate. 

Any transitioning active-duty military members in their last six months of service are encouraged to apply for the UA VIP program.