Getting ahead in a pipe trades career is easier when active-duty transitioning military service members are able to earn certifications before they even leave the service. United Association Veterans in Piping graduate and current UA Local 7 apprentice Joel Ortiz said the welding certification he earned while in the program set him apart from his peers.
“I earned the UA 21 welding certificate during the class,” he said. “Coming from no experience in welding, that is huge!”
The UA VIP Program is an 18-week Career Skills program dedicated to equipping active-duty transitioning military service members with the needed skills for an entry-level position in the pipe trades. The program combines classroom training with hands-on skills training.
From Marine Corporal to UA Local 7 third-year apprentice, Ortiz believes the VIP Program greatly assisted in his transition back into civilian life.
“The structure made it easy to transition back into the civilian workforce,” he said. “It really set me up for my future.”
After graduating from the 18-week welding program and transitioning out of the military, VIP graduates begin reaping the benefits of their hard work. The UA places VIP graduates with UA signatory contractors in an agreed upon location nationwide. VIP graduates are great candidates for these jobs because they have a basic set of skills, are ready to work and are able to fill the gaps in a shrinking workforce.
UA VIP’s guaranteed job placement was one of the main reasons Ortiz decided to apply for the program.
“It doesn’t charge the G.I. Bill, there is guaranteed job placement and I learned a valuable skill,” he added.
In addition to being placed with a UA signatory contractor, VIP graduates also gain direct entry into the five-year UA apprenticeship program. Working as an apprentice gives a unique opportunity to earn quality wages, benefits and learn on-the-job from experienced UA members. In addition to on-the-job learning, apprentices are also taught by experienced instructors in the classroom.
While apprentices, VIP graduates will earn a livable wage with scheduled pay raises and are provided full-family health insurance, plus retirement benefits such as a 401k plan and a pension.
To learn more about the UA VIP Program at Camp Lejeune and to request information about the program, click here.