Fort Cavazos Welding Class 26 is one of the first United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) classes to start 2024.
The UA VIP program prepares transitioning active-duty service members for a rewarding civilian career in the pipe trades. In 118 days, Class 26 students will complete their training and graduate with the basic skills needed to begin their future civilian careers.
The UA VIP program is a DoD SkillBridge program created to assist active-duty service members as they transition to civilian life with a new career.
Army Cpl. Jorge Viramonte was encouraged by friends to apply for the UA VIP program. After receiving an application from the Copeland Center, Viramonte was immediately interested and is now a part of Class 26.
“I’ve always wanted to learn how to weld and I knew there was good pay and benefits in the field,” Viramonte said.
With goals to learn as many new skills as he can during his time in class, Viramonte is motivated and excited for his future welding career. Other students in the program are also excited to begin learning new skills.
“I’ve always wanted to become a welder and my goal for the class is to become proficient at welding,” said Army Spc. Jovany Mejia Tobon.
Tobon was encouraged by friends who were already in the UA VIP program. The Army Specialist’s goals are to become a licensed welder and join a UA Local Union near New York City.
VIP students in welding classes can earn certificates in oxy-fuel cutting, SMAW plate welding, SPAW and GRAW pipe welding and SMAW pipe spooling. In class, they will also learn how to cut and weld pieces of material and read blueprints.
Active-duty transitioning service members are encouraged to apply to any of the following bases:
- Camp Pendleton
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord
- Fort Carson
- Fort Cavazos
- Fort Campbell
- Naval Station Norfolk
- Camp Lejeune
Guaranteed job placement
Upon graduating and transitioning out of the military, UA VIP students will be placed into a DOL-registered UA apprenticeship program with a guaranteed job.
Being a part of the UA offers extensive possibilities for advancing in your career. Upon completing the apprenticeship program, graduates will achieve the status of journeymen, paving the way for excellent career opportunities and substantial potential for further advancement.
While apprentices train to become journeyman welders, they will receive consistent compensation as they acquire the foundational skills of the trade, accompanied by regular wage increases corresponding to their advancing expertise.
In the pipe trades, journeymen have the opportunity to progress into roles such as foremen, superintendents, instructors, UA signatory contractors, business owners and even UA officers or organizers.