For those who apply to the United Association (UA) Veterans in Piping Program, the lure is usually the ability to know that job security is guaranteed upon leaving the armed forces.
For Luis Garcia, the program offered more than just a way to gain a new skillset; it offered a peace of mind by giving him a chance to be financially secure once he transitions out of the military.
“I knew this wasn’t a dead-end job, that I could expand and build an actual career in this field,” Garcia said. “After doing some research, I knew I could make an actual career out of it and make some decent income to support myself and possibly a family if I ever was to have one.”
He likes the practical training the United Association Veterans in Piping Program provides to him and his classmates as part of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) HVAC-R Class 12. Hands-on training actives such as brazing and recovering refrigerant help him get a feel for a few of basic skills he must master. The training aids and materials provided to the class helps them prepare not only for what they will learn the next day, but also for a career outside of the military.
“It really helps you learn and get a feel for the actual job,” said Garcia.
As part of the VIP program, Garcia said he is learning as much as he can in order have a successful future as an HVAC-R service technician, which is a crucial part of everyday society.
Upon successfully graduating from HVAC-R Class 12 and transitioning out of the military, Garcia, like his fellow classmates, are guaranteed a job and will receive additional classroom education and training as a United Association apprentice. Furthermore, upon starting his new career, he will receive health insurance and retirement benefits to go along with earning a livable wage.
It is this guarantee that provides UA VIP members with a peace of mind as they begin the stressful process of transitioning out of the service.
Now in the middle of the rigorous 18-week accelerated program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Garcia advises other military members who are interested in this program to act now.
“Apply as early as possible, one year out at least,” he said. “If you feel like this is really something you and your family can benefit from, then get a huge head start on it.”
Military members stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord can learn more about the on-base United Association VIP program by submitting their contact information by clicking here.