William P. Hite, General President of the United Association of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and HVAC Service Techs, proudly accepted a Distinguished Service Award from the Military Officers Association of America, or MOAA. Watch the video.
The association recognized Hite for his dedication in establishing and growing the Veterans In Piping program, as well as supporting other military-related initiatives.
Hite and the United Association "are leading the way in helping veterans find meaningful jobs in the construction industry," said retired Navy Admiral Charles S. Abbot. "His organization leads all others in training and placing veterans."
This was the first time in the MOAA's 82-year history the organization awarded a labor leader with such recognition. Previous recipients include General Colin Powell and NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw.
"Like the military, our union is also a brotherhood. We learn together, work together, and interact together every day," Hite said. "The men and women who join our ranks after their service are part of the future of our industry."
The program includes two weeks of re-entry training, and 16 weeks of welding training. The training is free, supported by the union. Successful graduates are placed in a local union apprentice program.
The VIP program is offered at Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Lacey, Wash. and Camp Douglas, Wis. The UA is working to expand the initiative to additional areas.