The United Association Veterans In Piping (UA VIP) program welcomed another class of transitioning active-duty service members who are training for a career in the pipe trades.
The students of Camp Pendleton Welding Class 42 have begun classroom learning and hands-on training to help prepare them for a rewarding civilian career.
UA VIP is a DoD SkillBridge program created to help active-duty service members smoothly transition from a life in the military to a rewarding civilian lifestyle.
Marine Lance Cpl. Abel Cordova has been interested in learning how to weld since high school, making the UA VIP program perfect for him.
“In high school, I took a welding class,” he said. “There were no certifications but I loved the class and felt like I wanted to be a welder since then.”
Cordova was encouraged to apply for the program by another Marine and emailed instructor Jason Culkiin for an application.
“My goal is to learn as much as I can, so I can be a great worker out in the field,” he added.
Marine Sgt. Ryan Curry was interested in the UA VIP program because of the reputation the program has for helping service members.
Curry said he was first interested in the program because of the certifications that can be earned through the program and the program’s notoriety.
While in Class 42 his goals are to learn to weld and to graduate with at least three welding certifications.
“My goal for the UA apprenticeship program is to join the best possible program to put myself in a position where I can do great work and make great money,” he said.
As welding students, Curry and his classmates can earn certifications in oxy-fuel cutting, SMAW plate welding, SPAW and GTAW pipe welding and SMAW pipe spooling, as well as learning to accurately read blueprints and cut and weld various pieces of material.
Individuals with military backgrounds bring marketable skills and experiences to the piping industry, qualities highly valued by UA signatory contractors.
More information about UA VIP
Transitioning active-duty service members can apply to any of the following seven installations:
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord
- Camp Pendleton
- Fort Carson
- Fort Cavazos
- Camp Lejeune
- Fort Campbell
- Naval Station Norfolk
For 118 days, students will be trained through a combination of classroom and lab instruction. They can choose welding, HVAC or fire suppression.
After graduating from the UA VIP program and transitioning out of the military, students will immediately be placed into a DOL-registered UA apprenticeship program with a guaranteed job.
Graduates who complete the apprenticeship program will become journeymen. Journeymen can eventually become foremen, superintendents, instructors, UA signatory contractors, and more. The career progression opportunities are limitless.
As apprentices train, they will earn a livable wage while they continue to learn the fundamentals of the trade with regular wage increases.
Active-duty service members looking for a career change when they are out of the military are encouraged to apply for the UA VIP program.