Thanks to the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Program, Army Sergeant Andrew Fioramonti, is now pursuing a career in the pipe trades, an industry he knows is not going away.
“I was a medic, but did not want to pursue a career in the medical world or attend traditional university,” said Fioramonti. “The VIP Program is great because it’s a hands-on program teaching you a craft that will never go away.”
The UA VIP Program is an 18-week Career Skills program, which equips active-duty transitioning military service members with the necessary skills for an entry-level position in the pipe trades. The program occurs during the final months of service and is open to all active-duty transitioning military service members at seven installations throughout the country.
Now a first year apprentice with UA Local 146 located in Fort Worth, Texas, Fioramonti says he is fitting right in and adapting well to his new career.
“I started working a welding job with pipefitters all around me,” he said. “So, I found the learning curve to be much less stressful due to the exposure the VIP Program gave me.”
From his new position, Fioramonti is recommending others to get involved with the VIP Program as they begin their transition.
“If you like working with your hands and you are a hard worker, you will fit right in.”
After completing the VIP Program and transitioning out of the military, VIP graduates are guaranteed job placement with a UA signatory contractor in an agreed upon location. From this position, VIP graduates earn a livable wage and quality fringe benefits, such as full-family health insurance.
In addition to guaranteed job placement, VIP graduates also gain direct entry into the five-year UA registered apprenticeship program. During these five years, VIP graduates learn on-the-job, working alongside experienced UA members and in the classroom from accredited, experienced instructors.
VIP graduates who go on to a career as a UA member are also set up for retirement. The UA provides quality retirement benefits, such as a 401k plan and pension.
To learn more about the UA VIP Program at Fort Hood, please click here.
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Video and Photo Gallery
Take a look at everything the VIP program is doing for our returning veterans — through videos and photos.
Pipefitters Local 455, St. Paul, MN, Apprentice David Adams (VIP graduate, Wisconsin Welding Class 2) is pictured on the job working for Pioneer Piping, Incorporated (PPI) at the Flint Hills Refinery in MN.
Camp Pendleton VIP Graduate turned out as Journeyman and makes a life in Butte, MT, with Local 41.
Orry graduated on April 9, 2015 and affiliated with UA Local 455, St. Paul, MN.
Sgt. Jerry Heneha, A Battery, 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery, puts together a valve system in preparation for his final week of the United Association's Veterans in Piping program at the Industrial Training Complex Photo Credit: Ms. Marie Berberea (TRADOC)
Fort Sill's inaugural Sprinkler Fitter class began on 2 March 2015.
SFC Michael Olsen and 1SG William Davidson presented their instructors Louis Purcella and Micah Tyler with a momentum from the class.
SGT Howard Nash is headed to Harrisburg, PA, to affiliate with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 520.
Gail Pilecki was so proud of her son, SGT Jeremy Pilecki, on graduation day. SGT Pilecki will make his home in Houston, affiliating with Pipefitters Local 211.
1SG William Davidson gave the graduate testimonial. He will remain with his family in Waco, TX, affiliating with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 529 in Waco, TX.
SFC Michael Olsen and his wife, Amanda, will remain in the area, affiliating with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 529 in Waco, TX.
Alysa and SPC Chad Eberle will be heading to San Antonio, TX, with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 142.
SGT Lawrence Beller, his wife, Brittney, and daughter, Nahla, will be making Houston, TX, their home, affiliating with Pipefitters Local 211.
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