Worried about what life will be like after leaving the military — how you’ll find a job, support your family, adjust to civilian life?
Jose Serans, a Boatswain’s Mate Second Class in the U.S. Navy, found hope and some answers in the United Association Veterans in Piping (VIP) Program through the welding program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The UA VIP Program is an 18-week Skillbridge program with a curriculum that aims to prepare active-duty transitioning military service members for an entry-level career in the pipe trades. The VIP Program offers a combination of hands-on and classroom instruction in state-of-the-art labs.
“The VIP program completely changed things for the better for me after the military,” Serans said. “It gave me a career and benefits to support my family.”
UA VIP graduates are guaranteed a job with a UA signatory contractor in an agreed upon location after they graduate from the program and successfully transition out of the armed forces.
After studying accelerated welding in the UA VIP Program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Serans was placed in a UA Local in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area.
Armed with even more experience during his UA apprenticeship, Serans was able to travel the country putting his welding skills to work, servicing data centers, paper mills, cogeneration plants, refineries, nuclear power facilities and a variety of other commercial jobs.
“I’ve used all of the welding skills I learned since turning out,” Serans says. “The VIP prepared me for a worthwhile career that supports my family with excellent pay.”
Today, Serans works as a UA trainer, teaching apprentices various pipe trade skills.
Start a civilian career with good pay, benefits
VIP graduates begin working for excellent pay and benefits from day one. They start their apprenticeship working for a UA signatory contractor and earn while they learn. This includes full family health care benefits, an excellent 401K and competitive wages.
The UA VIP Program helped prepare Serans for both a life after the military and a successful career as a member of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting and Sprinkler Fitting Industry.
His advice for service members thinking about applying to the UA VIP program?
“That’s easy — just do it, 100 percent, hands down,” Seran said with confidence. “It’s free. It’s an actual career path, and you earn good pay and benefits while you learn.”
To learn more about the VIP program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, click here.