Union Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Technicians


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Member of JBLM Welding Class 19 eager for UA career

The prospect of a fulfilling career with the United Association (UA) is what led one active-duty transitioning military service member to apply for the UA Veterans in Piping (VIP) Program.

Senior Airman Cody Bowman, a member of Welding Class 19 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is committing himself to his UA VIP training in preparation for eventually joining the UA five-year apprenticeship program.

“When I enter the UA apprenticeship after I transition from the military, I look forward to continuing my knowledge about the trade and keep progressing to a journeyman,” said Bowman.


The VIP Program is a free 18-week Career Skills program, which prepares active-duty transitioning military service members for a career in the pipe trades. Participants will learn entry level skills through classroom instruction and hands-on activity.

Bowman understands the UA VIP program is a great way to help him get into a rewarding career once he leaves the armed forces.

“My experience with the VIP Program, so far, has been great,” said Bowman. “I like that I have the opportunity to learn a trade that will lead to a great career.”


Upon successful completion of the program and transition out of the military, UA VIP graduates are guaranteed a job with a UA signatory contractor in an agreed upon geographic location.

As more journeymen retire from the skilled trades, their places need to be filled. VIP graduates help fill this skills gap by entering the trade with some base knowledge.

In addition to job placement, VIP graduates are granted direct entry into the five-year UA registered apprenticeship program. During their apprenticeship, VIP graduates will build upon their already impressive skillset, as they work towards becoming a journeyman.

UA apprentices earn a livable wage and are provided with great benefits such as full-family health insurance and retirement benefits including a 401k and a pension.

These benefits are attractive to active-duty transitioning military service members, including Bowman.

“What made the VIP Program stand out from other Career Skills programs was the benefits offered from the UA,” he said. “I could not find the same healthcare, fair wages and brotherhood in any other program.”

To learn more about the VIP Programs offered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, click here.