For the recent graduates of Camp Lejeune Welding Class 21, it feels pretty good to transition from one career to another with barely a hitch.
Thanks to the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) program, the graduates will begin good-paying civilian careers in the pipe trades as soon as they transition out of the military. The UA VIP program is a Career Skills Program (CSP) that provides transitioning active-duty service members with a guaranteed job in the form of a UA registered apprenticeship right after the military.
Over the course of 18 weeks, the UA VIP graduates learned the basics of welding from a certified journeyman instructor, through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience. They earned industry recognized certifications that advanced their training and put them ahead of their peers.
The students learned oxy fuel cutting, SMAW plate welding, SPAW and GTAW pipe welding and SMAW pipe spooling.
Transitioning active-duty service members are invited to apply to the UA VIP program during their last six months of enlistment. Training takes place at select military bases around the country while the student is still in the armed forces, and it is considered part of their military duties. The UA VIP program offers training in welding, HVACR and fire sprinkler fitting.
A direct path to a good paying welding career
Once Welding Class 21 graduates transition out of the military, they will join a registered apprenticeship program at an agreed upon location. Some of the Class 21 students will train in Chicago, Boston and Milwaukee.
As they train, the students will earn good union wages and quickly qualify for quality healthcare for their families. They will earn annual pay raises as they expand their skillset and progress through the program. They will also earn a pension and a 401K for their retirement.
Once they complete their apprenticeship, the graduates will have numerous opportunities for career progression. Some will go on to become foremen or superintendents. Some will become journeyman instructors and train others in the craft, perhaps even in the UA VIP program.