It’s pretty awesome to see those two grads of the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) program will be showing off their pipefitting and welding skills competitively.
Two UA VIP grads will be competing in state apprenticeship competitions this month in New Jersey.
The UA VIP program trains transitioning active-duty service members for civilian careers in the pipe trades after they get out of the military. It’s a Career Skills Program (CSP) designed to make the transition to civilian life easier by providing guaranteed job placement in a good paying career.
For Brother Rory Mierzejewski and Brother Richard NajerCaicedo, this led to placement with two UA Locals in New Jersey.
Mierzejewski will be a welding competitor representing Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 322 in southern New Jersey. He graduated from Fort Carson’s Welding Class 7 in 2016.
NajerCaicedo will be a welding competitor representing Pipefitters Local 274 in New Jersey. He graduated from Camp Pendleton’s Welding Class 27 in 2018.
UA VIP: A guaranteed path to a union career
Over the course of 18 weeks, UA VIP participants train alongside experienced journeyman instructors. Many have no prior welding or pipefitting experience before joining the program. But through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience, they learn skills and earn industry-recognized certifications that put them ahead of their peers and propel their progress when they later begin a UA registered apprenticeship.
After they graduate from the UA VIP program and transition out of the military, the grads will go on to begin UA registered apprenticeships at an agreed upon location. As they learn, they will earn good union wages and quickly become eligible for quality healthcare benefits for their families. They will start earning a pension and a 401K for their retirement.
Transitioning active-duty service members become eligible to apply to the UA VIP program during their last 18 months of enlistment. Training is available in welding, HVACR and fire sprinkler fitting at select military bases across the country.
Congratulations to Local 322 Brother Rory Mierzejewski and Local 274 Brother Richard NajerCaicedo on your completion of the UA VIP Program, successful transition to a career with the UA and outstanding work in your apprenticeship.