The United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Program provides free career training so active-duty transitioning military service members can take the skills they acquired while in the military and use them in a lifelong career in the piping industry.
For Chase Knisely, the adjustment from Army life to civilian life will be less stressful compared to other transitioning military service members, largely thanks to the UA VIP program.
The free 18-week accelerated class provides participants with entry level piping industry skills. Those who successfully complete the program and then transition back into civilian life are guaranteed a job with a UA signatory contractor, where they will earn a livable wage, excellent health benefits and great retirement benefits, such as a pension and a 401K. Additionally, UA VIP graduates will also begin a registered five-year UA apprenticeship, where they will learn additional skills, receive raises and eventually become a journeyman.
Knisely, a Specialist in the Army, is currently a member of Camp Pendleton Welding Class 30, where he is gaining welding certifications, OSHA safety certifications and general piping industry knowledge before returning to civilian life.
“This program, by far, has been one of the greatest experiences,” Knisely said. “The morale and brothers you make going into this program is incredible.”
Knisely heard about the UA VIP Program while attending a transitioning class in the Army.
“I picked up a flyer for VIP and contacted Camp Pendleton UA VIP Instructor and Infantry Marine, Sean Ellis that same day,” Knisley said. “I decided to join this program because I felt it would help assist me in transitioning and finding a job. I wouldn’t have taken any other path.”
As members of Welding Class 30 continue to work to gain certifications and acquire skills through classroom education and hands-on training, they are also making plans for life once they graduate on Aug. 29.
“When I exit the military and go to my Local Union Hall, I really expect just to work hard and use my work ethic that I’ve learned from serving and applying that to my everyday schedule,” said Knisely. “I know I’ll be making some great brothers in the field and lifelong friends. I couldn’t be more excited to start this chapter of my life.”
Click here to learn more about the Camp Pendleton UA VIP Program.