The United Association Veterans In Piping (UA VIP) program Camp Lejeune Welding Class 24 started this month, providing active-duty service members with training to prepare for civilian pipe trades careers after they transition out of the military.
Over the next 18 weeks, the members of Class 24 will receive instruction and accelerated training on the fundamentals of welding.
Class 24 participants will learn from experienced journeymen instructors, working 40 hours each week. In time they will earn industry-recognized welding certifications and after graduation, acceptance into a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) registered apprenticeship program with guaranteed employment.
Navy Hospital Corpsmen 3rd Class Melbourne Wallace is a member of Class 24. He has set some quality goals he intends to accomplish in the coming weeks and more aspirations for when he joins the UA.
“The goals I set for myself while in the VIP program are to pass my UA21 weld test, become a journeyman, have my own welding rig, and start pipeline welding,” he said.
Among the reasons why active-duty service members choose UA VIP instead of other SkillBridge programs is because of UA VIP’s guaranteed job placement in the piping industry.
“I was attracted to the UA VIP program because they offered free welding school and taught military members how to pipe-weld, so I could get my foot in the door for pipelining,” Wallace said.
What comes next
Among the UA VIP program's most valuable aspects is its ability to align graduates with a UA DOL-registered apprenticeship program after they transition out of the military. While in the UA’s five-year apprenticeship program, UA VIP graduates will continue to work alongside experienced journeymen while earning a livable wage, quality benefits and a pension for retirement.
Upon topping out of the apprenticeship program, UA VIP graduates will become journeymen in their preferred trade.
From resume-building to personal and professional development, the UA VIP program ensures veterans have access to the resources they need to succeed as they transition back into civilian life.
The UA VIP program offers a wide range of career opportunities from pipefitting and welding to fire suppression and HVAC, active-duty service members can choose a trade that best fits their skill base and interest level at an agreed-upon location near them.
Active-duty service members interested in the UA VIP program can choose from the select military bases and trades listed below:
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord offers training in welding and HVAC.
- Camp Pendleton offers training in welding.
- Fort Carson offers training in welding.
- Fort Cavazos offers training in welding.
- Camp Lejeune offers training in welding.
- Fort Campbell offers training in welding and fire suppression.
- Naval Station Norfolk offers training in HVAC.