Veteran unemployment numbers are consistently higher than that of the general population. It’s a disappointing thought; after defending our freedom, the men and women of the armed forces may not have a career to come back to, or a paycheck to support themselves or their loved ones.
With the United Association (UA) Veterans in Piping (VIP) Program, transitioning military members prepare to leave the service with sought after skills that can lead to lifelong careers in the increasingly in-demand pipe trades. Through 18-week accelerated courses - provided free of cost on military bases across the country – UA VIP participants earn industry-recognized certifications and direct entry into stable private-sector jobs with good pay and benefits. Department of Defense funds are not required to make this program work; the UA International Training Fund pays for the education and trains the departing service members.Additionally, 100 percent of the men and women who graduate from the UA VIP Program are placed into a 5-year apprenticeship program with the UA where they train for a career, not just a job.
Todd Secor took part in the welding class offered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. After his 18-week course, Secor was ready to pursue his career in the piping trades. He affiliated with Local 230
in San Diego, California. He is working full time with University Mechanical & Engineering Contractors.
“My home is in the fabrication shop so I seldom go on the jobsites, but I have worked on 2, both located on college campuses,” Secor explains. “One of them we installed 2 new water pumps and the other jobsite we installed a brand new ventilation system for a library which included new piping. At the fab shop I run an automated wire welding machine and I am one of the main welders in the shop!”