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UA VIP class 40 students halfway through training at camp Pendleton

Camp Pendleton

Members of the United Association Veterans In Piping (UA VIP) program Camp Pendleton Welding Class 40 have reached the halfway point of their advanced welding training. 

For the last nine weeks, these active-duty service members have been training to become future apprentices in the pipe trades. 

With nine more weeks to go, students will expand their knowledge of welding fundamentals by experienced journeyman instructors through a combination of hands-on training and classroom instruction. 

The UA VIP program is a DOD Skillbridge Program created to smoothly transition active-duty service members into sustainable pipe trade careers. 

In their last six months of military commitment, these active-duty service members can qualify for placement in the UA VIP program to begin training in the welding, fire sprinklerfitting or HVAC-R fields. 

The program has helped thousands of U.S. service members find a financially stable and fulfilling career in the UA. 

Recently, UA VIP Class 40 students selected an agreed-upon UA Local, in an area where they want to live. 

Marine Cpl. Saul Suazo decided to return to his beloved college town, where he graduated from Pima Community College. He will soon join Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 469 in Arizona, just a few miles away. 

Many other soon-to-be Class 40 graduates chose UA Local 342 Concord and Local 582 Orange, near Camp Pendleton in southern California.

Not only will the members of Class 40 join a Local Union, but they gain direct entry in a UA-registered apprenticeship program, where they will continue to learn and improve their piping industry skills. Through classroom instruction and on-the-job training, future graduates will learn from experienced journeymen while they earn a good living wage.

The UA VIP program recognizes the dedication, sacrifice and skills military members bring to the piping industry and wants to equip them with all the resources necessary to succeed. 

If you are in your last six months of active service and ready to start planning your future, check out the UA VIP program to see if the UA is right for you. 

Look forward to a career with the UA 


Once Welding Class 40 students graduate from the program and transition out of the military, they will join a UA DOL registered apprenticeship program and go to work for a UA signatory contractor, who will pay them a livable wage. They will also receive full-family healthcare and retirement benefits, including a pension and 401(k). 

Eventually, apprentices will top out and become experienced journeyman professionals in their preferred trade which opens up excellent career paths with a potential for further advancement in the piping industry. 

Journeyman-level professionals in the pipe trades can become foremen, superintendents, UA signatory contractors, business owners or even UA officers. 

Pipefitting is one of the most reliable trades in the construction industry. Pipefitters work full-time, and many report earning steady wages and regular pay increases. Many industries rely on industrial piping systems to function properly, with more opportunities related to maintenance. 

The pipe trades industry needs individuals who are well-versed in hands-on thinking to solve problems and the UA VIP program is helping you fill that need. 

Learn More About The UA VIP Program At Camp Pendleton