United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Program Administrator and Training Specialist Mike Hazard appeared on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast, a national, labor-focused podcast, and discussed the opportunities the UA VIP program provides transitioning active duty service members through direct entry to a civilian career in the pipe trades.
Hazard appeared on the podcast as part of its celebration of Veterans Day.
Hazard said the UA VIP program was founded to address the fact that veterans experience four times the unemployment rate as non-veterans. The UA strives to give transitioning active-duty service members an upper hand with career guarantees they can depend on, he explained. Since its founding in 2008, the UA VIP program has helped over 2,900 students land good-paying careers in the trades.
The UA VIP program is a Career Skills Program (CSP) that guarantees transitioning active-duty service members with a civilian job in the form of a UA registered apprenticeship program after they leave the military.
“The benefits to service members are amazing,” Hazard said. “My priority is to ensure we keep our promise through the coordination of job placement that gets UA VIP members to where they want to go. The goal is that by week 10, all the UA VIPs know where they are going. They can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on their training.”
The program runs 18 weeks, 40 hours per week, so the students can earn industry-recognized certifications that will propel their careers when they begin their apprenticeship training, Hazard explained.
Military discipline proves to be a valuable asset on a construction site
Hazard was clear to point out the UA VIP program does not offer charity. The students are expected to learn valuable foundational skills that will make them employable and valuable assets to their UA unions and contractors. The discipline these students learn through the military can be especially beneficial on a construction site, he added.
There are currently nine different programs at seven military bases across the country. Classes are available in welding, sprinkler pipe fitting and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration repair.
Once the students complete their UA VIP training and transition out of the military, they begin their apprenticeship training, where they earn while they learn and quickly qualify for quality health insurance for their family. They begin earning a pension and a 401K for their retirement. They receive steady pay raises as they progress through the program and expand their skill set.
The UA VIP program is recognized by the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Labor (DOL) as the gold standard career skills program for transitioning active duty military service members.