Skillbridge DOD programs provide on-the-job training and work experience while you are still in the military in preparation for a civilian career after completing your service.
Skillbridge can help you learn new skills, gain on-the-job experience and make valuable connections in the civilian workforce. In addition, Skillbridge programs are often sponsored by leading companies in various industries, giving you the chance to learn from some of the best in the business.
There are now over 20,000 Skillbridge DOD programs across the nation, and the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) program is one of the first. Check out this blog from 2014 explaining the advantages of the program.
UA VIP program provides a path to a rewarding career in the pipe trades
The UA VIP is a Skillbridge DOD Career Skills Program (CSP) that connects transitioning active-duty military service members with civilian careers in the pipe trades. For 18 weeks, the program provides participants basic career training through classroom instruction and hands-on experience taught by a certified journeyman instructor. It prepares students for a UA registered apprenticeship at an agreed-upon location after completing the program and transitioning out of the military.
Transitioning active-duty service members participate in the UA VIP program during the last few months of their enlistment. Training takes place at select military bases across the country and is considered part of your military commitment.
Why the UA VIP program stands above other Skillbridge DOD programs
Besides being one of the first Skillbridge DOD programs offered in the country, the UA VIP program is also one of the best.
The UA VIP program stands above other Skillbridge DOD programs for one simple reason: It’s the only program to offer guaranteed job placement after the military.
Most Skillbridge DOD programs carry the following disclaimer:
“SkillBridge Intern participants are not entitled to a job at the conclusion of the SkillBridge opportunity simply by virtue of completing the SkillBridge Intern program. Veterans entitled to veteran preference that meet the criteria for non-competitive hiring authorities may be offered a non-competitive job offer upon completion of the program.
But the UA VIP program does not need the above disclaimer because it guarantees transitioning active-duty service members with a job and a career after they get out of the military.
So far, over 2,900 transitioning active-duty service members have successfully completed the UA VIP program and transitioned into civilian careers in the pipe trades.
During their registered apprenticeship program, apprentices will earn good union pay while they learn and quickly qualify for quality health insurance for their family. They start earning a pension and a 401K for their retirement. They also receive raises as they progress through the program and expand their skill set.
How to use your GI Bill benefits to cover apprenticeship costs
The UA VIP program does not use any of your GI Bill benefits for the training. However, you are free to use those benefits to offset the costs of application fees, books and tools during your apprenticeship program. You can also use your GI Bill benefits to cover housing costs while you complete your apprenticeship. You will receive these housing costs in addition to the union wages you earn while training.
The UA VIP program offers career training in welding, HVAC and fire sprinkler fitting. Click here to learn more.