For U.S. Marine Cpl. Juan Alvarez, it was the opportunity to be trained in a career without having to use his G.I. Bill that made the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) program stand out.
“I really want to weld as a career,” he said. “The UA VIP program offers a lot of help and sets us up for success right from the very beginning. I am really excited to earn certifications and advance my skills.”
Alvarez and his fellow students began their training in Camp Pendleton Welding Class 38. They will learn core welding skills that will set the foundation for a civilian career in the pipe trades after they transition out of the military.
“I was always attracted to welding and the career path through the UA was very appealing,” said U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Donavon Ugalino. “I anticipate learning the different types, techniques and safety features that go into welding. I am excited to learn about pipe fitting and how it works together with welding to create a bigger picture.”
Over the next 18 weeks, the transitioning active-duty service members will train alongside experienced journeyman instructors through a combination of classroom training and hands-on experience. They will learn industry recognized certifications that put them ahead of their peers.
The students will learn oxy fuel cutting, SMAW plate welding, SPAW and GTAW pipe welding and SMAW pipe spooling.
The UA VIP program is a Career Skills Program (CSP) for transitioning active-duty service members. It guarantees them a civilian job through a UA registered apprenticeship.
“I got into the UA VIP program because I wanted to work with my hands,” U.S. Marine Sgt. Orion Manasco said. “I’m going to learn everything I possibly can.”
Transitioning active-duty service members are eligible to apply to the UA VIP program during their last 18 months of duty. Service takes place while they are still in the military and is considered part of their military commitment.
UA VIP training is available in welding, HVACR and fire sprinkler fitting at select military bases throughout the country.
Guaranteed job placement in a civilian career
After they graduate the UA VIP program and transition out of the military, the students will begin a UA registered apprenticeship at an agreed upon location. They will earn throughout their training and quickly become eligible for quality healthcare for their families. They’ll start building a pension and a 401K for their retirement.
“It’s going to be able to help so much to transition right into a civilian job and go to work as soon as I get out of the military,” Alvarez said. “The UA VIP program is an incredible opportunity.”