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UA VIP graduate says the program prepared him for civilian life

For United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) graduate, Marine Sergeant Kevin Long, the VIP program nearly mirrored what life is like in the civilian world.

After a long military career, it may be tough for some veterans to adjust to civilian life and the civilian workplace.

The VIP Program provides a setting for transitioning active-duty military service members to reacquaint themselves with civilian life.

“This is a great way to ready a service member who is not used to the reality of the civilian workplace,” said Camp Pendleton Welding Class 7 graduate, Kevin Long. “You feel like you are on the job and I believe this helps prepare the service member for the civilian workforce.”

Kevin Long - VIP Pendleton (3)

Open to all active-duty transitioning military service members, the UA VIP is an 18-week SkillBridge program, which aims to prepare participants for a career in the pipe trades.

Long, now a UA journeyman with Local 230, gave great praise to the VIP Program for preparing him for a career in the pipe trades.

“We had our own booths with everything we needed,” said Long. “We were able to just keep the hood down and learn how to weld.”

Upon graduation from UA VIP and transition from the military, VIP participants are guaranteed job placement with a UA signatory contractor. Many contractors are experiencing a shortage in skilled tradespeople, the VIP Program is the perfect program to help close this skills gap and put veterans to work.

Kevin Long - VIP Pendleton (8)

“It is by far the best program out there for our transitioning service members to civilian life,” said Long. “It places them into our great workforce with an upper hand!”

In addition to a guaranteed job with a UA signatory contractor, VIP graduates also gain direct entry to the five-year UA apprenticeship program. During this program, graduates build on their newly found skillset through on-the-job training, classroom instruction and continued training for journeymen.

A career with the UA can yield many benefits to veterans that will help them provide for themselves and their family. UA members earn a livable wage with scheduled pay raises throughout the apprenticeship program. They also earn benefits such as family health insurance, 401k and pension.

To learn more about the VIP Program at Camp Pendleton, click here.