Rogelio Salinas, a United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) graduate, is encouraging all active-duty transitioning military service members to give the program a shot because of how seamless it was for him when he was ready to make such a major life change.
“Many military personnel are always worried what civilian life will have in store for them,” the former Army Specialist said. “I can very truthfully say that thanks to the VIP Program those worries have been met with so much relief and tranquillity.”
The UA VIP Program is an 18-week Career Skills program designed to equip active-duty transitioning military service members with the necessary skills for an entry-level position in the pipe trades. The program occurs during the final months of military service; is open to all active-duty transitioning military service members; and is offered at seven military installations, across the U.S.
After graduating from the VIP Program and successfully transitioning out of the Army, the experience has led Salinas to comfortably encouraging others to follow in his footsteps.
“I would say that this is a very great career for anyone interested in this sort of work,” Salinas said. “There’s always something to learn in this trade.”
The abundance of work caused by older tradesmen and tradeswomen retiring and an expanding construction market in many parts of the country means the pipe trades have a great deal of available work.
“You will have the opportunity to choose from many different states you will want to go work in,” he said. “You may even be close to your hometown.”
After successfully completing the VIP Program and transitioning out of the military, VIP graduates are guaranteed job placement with a UA signatory contractor in an agreed upon location, nationwide. In this position, VIP graduates earn a livable wage and quality benefits that can benefit the graduate and any immediate family.
VIP graduates are also afforded direct entry into the five-year United Association registered apprenticeship program. As apprentices, VIP graduates continue learning on the job as they work alongside experienced UA members. They also receive supplemental classroom instruction from accredited instructors.
During the entirety of their UA membership, VIP graduates earn a family-supporting wage and benefits such as full-family health insurance, 401k and pension.
Learn more about the VIP Program at Fort Carson, 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.