United Association Veterans in Piping Program graduate and Army Specialist Andrew Garcia wants as many service members as possible to take advantage of the VIP Program because of the benefits and rewarding career he has obtained.
“Just do it and do not look back,” Garcia said. “You won’t have any regrets.”
The UA VIP Program is an 18-week Career Skills Program, which is designed to prepare active-duty military service members for an entry-level career in the pipe trades. The program is offered to all active-duty transitioning military service members at seven installations, nationwide. It takes place during the final months of service, just before transitioning.
Garcia said his transition was smooth thanks to the VIP Program and not having to worry about starting a job search in the civilian world.
“They care,” he said. “They really focus on helping with the transition.”
After graduating and transitioning out of the military, VIP graduates are guaranteed job placement with a UA signatory contractor, nationwide. Here VIP graduates will earn a livable wage and receive quality fringe benefits for themselves and their immediate family.
Garcia said he is thankful for the VIP Program because it set him on the path towards a rewarding career.
In addition to job placement, VIP graduates also gain direct entry into the five-year UA registered apprenticeship program. During this five-year period, VIP graduates will learn as they work side by side with experienced UA members. Additionally, they also receive classroom instruction from accredited instructors.
Currently, Garcia is enjoying his transition and is thankful for his UA Local 469 Brothers and Sisters.
“My transition was seamless,” said Garcia. “The people here at Local 469 have been nothing but helpful.”
As apprentices, VIP graduates earn family-supporting wages and benefits such as full family health insurance, a 401k plan and pension.
For more information about the UA VIP Program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, please 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.