Union Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Technicians


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Hands-on work, in-pocket pay = a bright future as an in-demand welder

UA Veterans in Piping graduate Tyler Henkel

Hands-on work, a dependable paycheck, an opportunity to learn a trade — this is what the United Association Veterans in Piping program has provided Tyler Henkel, a corporal in the U.S. Marines. And for that, he’s glad he’s taken the program up on its promise of free education and the potential for a lifelong civilian career as a welder. 

“It’s been one of the best programs I have ever gotten into,” Henkel admitted. “The program is really tailored to students like myself who have barely any welding experience. It turns them into decent welders with great career opportunities after we leave the military.”

Real life skills ease the transition to civilian life


The welding program at Camp Pendleton has renewed Henkel’s hope for the future, after he transitions out of the military and back to the civilian world. He makes this move knowing he has a skill that is in high demand in today’s competitive job market.

“It’s been a very smooth adjustment,” Henkel says. “Having the hours identical to what a work week would be like is getting me prepared for the civilian world.”

Henkel first learned about the program through a friend who worked in the trade.

“I thought this would be the best possible approach to getting into the pipe trades,” Henkel said. “I enjoy VIP’s hands-on approach and smaller class size. They really seem to care about my future and set me up for success.”


A bright future in a demanding career


The UA VIP program is an 18-week Career Skills program designed to give transitioning active-duty military service members entry-level skills in the pipe trades. The program provides hands-on, real life training for free through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on skill training.

Once VIP Program participants graduate from the program and transition out of the military, they go to work for a UA signatory contractor in an agreed upon location. They enjoy guaranteed employment with competitive salaries in industries where their skills are in high demand.

Graduates earn industry-recognized certifications and gain direct entry into an entry-level job where they will earn great pay and excellent benefits.

Henkel has learned about Oxyacetylene gas cutting, welding with 6010 and 7018 rods, how to fit piping, and different welding positions. Once he’s completed his military service, Henkel plans to continue to build on welding fundamentals as he works side-by-side with experienced journeymen.

“VIP is an amazing program that sets you up with a local of your choosing upon completion,” Henkel states. “VIP goes into great detail on the process of welding. It’s been a great experience.”

To learn more about the VIP program at Camp Pendleton, click here.