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UA Veterans in Piping (VIP) By UA Veterans in Piping (VIP) • July 29, 2019

The UA VIP Program welcomes 9 students into JBLM Welding Class 18

The United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Program Joint Base Lewis-McChord Welding Class 18 is off to a great start, as participants begin to learn basic piping industry skills.

Welding Class 18 is made up of 9 students from the Army, Navy and the Marines. The free 18-week accelerated career-training program is open to transitioning active-duty military service members from all branches of the armed forces.

UA VIP participants are taught basic welding skills, which prepare them to go to work for a UA signatory contractor once they transition out of the service.

Since 2013, the UA VIP welding & HVACR programs have been offered at JBLM and has helped reduce the stress of transitioning out of the military to more than 400 active-duty transitioning service members by guaranteeing all graduates a job with a UA signatory contractor, where they will earn a living wage and excellent health and retirement benefits.

“This group is hungry to learn and showing great promise of being another highly motivated group,” said JBLM VIP Welding Lead Instructor Kris McAferty.

In addition to a guaranteed job upon successful completion of the VIP program, graduates gain direct entry into the UA’s five-year registered apprenticeship program at an agreed upon location nationwide. As a UA apprentice, UA VIP graduates will improve upon their newly found skillset and work their way toward becoming a UA journeyman.

“After learning about the VIP program I saw a great opportunity to help me transfer into a successful career after the military,” said Marine Master Sergeant Rick Santos, current JBLM Welding Class 18 student. “I’m looking forward to learning the skills needed to join such an amazing trade that can keep me serving my country, family and community.”

If you want to learn more about the welding program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, click here.