The students who just began Joint Base Lewis-McChord Welding Class 27 will soon gain foundational skills to begin a welding career, despite at least a few starting with little to no experience.
But thanks to the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) program, they will learn basic skills that will prepare them for a career in the pipe trades after the military.
The UA VIP program is a DOD Skillbridge program that guarantees transitioning active-duty service members a civilian job through a UA-registered apprenticeship program after the military. The program provides career training to members of the military to help ease the transition to civilian life.
Over 18 weeks, the students will train alongside an experienced journeyman instructor learning basic welding skills. The training involves a combination of hands-on experience and classroom instruction. Many will also earn industry-recognized certifications in oxy-fuel cutting, SMAW plate welding, SPAW and GTAW pipe welding and SMAW pipe spooling.
Transitioning active-duty service members are invited to apply to the UA VIP program during the last six months of their enlistment. They must receive approval from their commanding officer. The UA VIP program offers training in welding, HVAC and fire suppression – learning the basics of installing, inspecting, repairing and maintaining fire sprinkler systems.
UA VIP training is available at select military bases across the country. Each base specializes in a particular training. Click below to see more about the base and their training.
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord offers training in welding and HVAC.
- Camp Pendleton offers training in welding.
- Fort Carson offers training in welding.
- Fort Hood offers training in welding.
- Camp Lejeune offers training in welding.
- Fort Campbell offers training in welding and fire suppression.
- Naval Station Norfolk offers training in HVAC.
Apply by downloading the application of the base you prefer. Service members stationed at neighboring installations are encouraged to apply for the UA VIP program nearest them.
A career in the pipe trades with retirement and health benefits
Once the students complete their UA VIP training and transition out of the military, they will begin a UA-registered apprenticeship program where they will earn good union pay. They will quickly qualify for quality health insurance for their family. They will start earning a pension and a 401K for their retirement.
During their apprenticeship training, the students will receive pay increases as they progress through the program and expand their skill set.
Once the students complete their apprenticeship, they will become journeymen with numerous opportunities for advancement. Some may eventually become foremen or superintendents. Others will own their own businesses. Some will go on to become certified instructors, perhaps even teaching in the UA VIP program.