Members of the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Welding Class 16 at Fort Carson are thankful for the program and feel it is a positive force for any active-duty transitioning military service member.
As the members of Welding Class 16 complete their service and begin to transition out of the military, they have kept not only their own future in mind, but the future of their family as well.
For Army Sergeant Tyler Miller, his family influenced his decision to apply for the VIP program.
“The transition to a good paying civilian job will make it easier on me and my family,” he said.
This is a common theme with many VIP participants.
Upon successful completion of the program, VIP graduates are guaranteed job placement with a UA signatory contractor at an agreed upon location nationwide. Filling critical skills gaps in the construction and service sectors, the VIP Program provides training in welding and other specialty fields with current shortages, providing skills to leverage high quality, living wage jobs.
Miller is also happy with the quality of the training he is receiving.
“The VIP program is a great opportunity for the transitioning soldier,” he said. “It is a way to get your hands dirty with quality, on-the-job training, while finishing out your military contract.”
Fellow Welding Class 16 members Sergeant Michael Hourigan Jr. and Sergeant Garrett West-Ugartechea are both following in the footsteps of their fathers, who are UA members.
UA VIP Fort Carson Lead Welding Instructor Jason Smith is proud of his all of his students, but had special praise for Hourigan and West-Ugartechea.
“These soldiers have done their country proud, their fathers proud and will make their union proud,” said Smith
In addition to being guaranteed a job with a UA signatory contractor, VIP graduates also gain direct entry into the UA’s five-year apprenticeship program, where they will further their industry education and skillset. Apprentices learn on-the-job from experienced journeymen and in the classroom from accredited professionals. As graduates advance through this apprenticeship, they earn wage increases that correspond with their progress in the program.