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Second year apprentice thankful the VIP Program gave him a chance

Troy DeForge - UA VIP graduate

For Army Private First Class Troy DeForge, the United Association Veterans in Piping Program has provided him the opportunity for a successful career.

“The VIP Program gave me the tools and knowledge I would need to set me up for success,” DeForge said.

The UA VIP Program is an 18-week Skillbridge program open to all active-duty transitioning military service members. The goal of the program is to prepare active-duty transitioning military service members for a pipe trades career during their final months of their military service.

Now a UA Local 669 second-year fire sprinkler fitter apprentice, DeForge has taken advantage of travel opportunities.

Troy DeForge UA VIP

“I have been on a lot of sites,” he said. “Currently I am working in Nashville, but I have been to South Carolina and Kentucky for out of town work as well.”

Upon graduation from the UA VIP Program and a successful transition out of the military, VIP participants are guaranteed job placement with a UA signatory contractor. Many contractors are seeing a need for tradesmen and tradeswomen and the VIP Program helps fill this gap by providing entry-level training to motivated individuals.

Knowing service members struggle to find a substantial career after transitioning out of the military, DeForge is thankful for the opportunity he was given.

“They gave me a chance,” he said. “I handed in my resume and was given an interview and later accepted. Some people don’t get the chance or opportunity we were given.” 

While VIP graduates are guaranteed job placement with a UA signatory contractor, they 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. When apprentices become journeymen, they are welcome and encouraged to continue their education.

A career in the UA yields many benefits to veterans in order to help make their life after the service easier. As a UA apprentice, they earn a livable wage with scheduled pay raises throughout their apprenticeship, while receiving full family health insurance and a 401k and pension plan. 

To learn more about the VIP Program at Fort Campbell, click here.