Former Navy Petty Officer Second Class Kenta Caproni is happy he now earns a family-supporting wage and is afforded great benefits as a member of the United Association following his graduation from the Veterans in Piping Program.
“Something that stood out was the long term options for a pension, 401k and health insurance options,” Caproni said. “I know that I will not have to worry about my future when the United Association will help take care of me and my family.”
The United Association (UA) Veterans in Piping (VIP) Program is an 18-week Career Skills program designed to prepare active-duty transitioning military service members for a career in the pipe trades.
Now a first year apprentice with United Association Local 26, Caproni feels the VIP Program adequately prepared him for his new career.
“The VIP Program introduced me to employment opportunities that I was not aware or thought about getting into,” Caproni said. “The instructors helped with explaining and giving guidance on how to succeed as an apprentice and the general expectations.”
After graduating from the VIP Program and successfully transitioning out of the armed forces, VIP graduates are guaranteed job placement with a UA signatory contractor. As these contractors look for people to fill positions, the VIP Program provides them a steady stream of industry-trained, work-ready, motivated individuals.
Caproni knows many service members struggle when they transition from a military career to a civilian career. He was impressed with how smooth the VIP Program made his transition.
“The transition was nothing but smooth,” Caproni said. “Everyone from the Instructors, VIP staff and the training director at Local 26 made the process simple and helped with any questions or concerns I had.”
In addition to guaranteed job placement, VIP graduates also gain direct entry into the five-year UA apprenticeship program. As apprentices, VIP graduates build on their impressive skillset through on-the-job training, as well as traditional classroom instruction. Once they become UA journeymen, they are encouraged to return to the training center for additional training.
As a UA member, VIP graduates, like all other apprentices are taken care of. From the livable wages and family health insurance, to the retirement benefits such as a 401k and pension, VIP graduates are able to support themselves and their families with an honest day of work.
To learn more about the UA VIP Program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, click here.
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Video and Photo Gallery
Take a look at everything the VIP program is doing for our returning veterans — through videos and photos.
Pipefitters Local 455, St. Paul, MN, Apprentice David Adams (VIP graduate, Wisconsin Welding Class 2) is pictured on the job working for Pioneer Piping, Incorporated (PPI) at the Flint Hills Refinery in MN.
Camp Pendleton VIP Graduate turned out as Journeyman and makes a life in Butte, MT, with Local 41.
Orry graduated on April 9, 2015 and affiliated with UA Local 455, St. Paul, MN.
Sgt. Jerry Heneha, A Battery, 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery, puts together a valve system in preparation for his final week of the United Association's Veterans in Piping program at the Industrial Training Complex Photo Credit: Ms. Marie Berberea (TRADOC)
Fort Sill's inaugural Sprinkler Fitter class began on 2 March 2015.
SFC Michael Olsen and 1SG William Davidson presented their instructors Louis Purcella and Micah Tyler with a momentum from the class.
SGT Howard Nash is headed to Harrisburg, PA, to affiliate with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 520.
Gail Pilecki was so proud of her son, SGT Jeremy Pilecki, on graduation day. SGT Pilecki will make his home in Houston, affiliating with Pipefitters Local 211.
1SG William Davidson gave the graduate testimonial. He will remain with his family in Waco, TX, affiliating with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 529 in Waco, TX.
SFC Michael Olsen and his wife, Amanda, will remain in the area, affiliating with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 529 in Waco, TX.
Alysa and SPC Chad Eberle will be heading to San Antonio, TX, with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 142.
SGT Lawrence Beller, his wife, Brittney, and daughter, Nahla, will be making Houston, TX, their home, affiliating with Pipefitters Local 211.
Mouse over thumbnails to view larger videos and photos or view entire Gallery.