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UA VIP Joint Base Lewis-McChord HVAC-R Class 29 begins

The United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) program welcomes a new group of transitioning active-duty service members. 

On Feb. 20, a new group of transitioning active-duty service members began their accelerated HVAC-R training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

UA VIP is a DOD SkillBridge program designed to help active duty service members transition from the military and begin new civilian careers in the pipe trades. 

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ben Lormon comes to the UA VIP program with prior plumbing experience and is excited to begin his HVAC-R training as he transitions out of the Navy.

Lormon discovered the UA VIP program from the SkillBridge website and was immediately interested. 

“This is a subject I’m familiar with and the teaching style fits my style of learning,” he said. “I want to learn everything I can about HVAC and the VIP program seems like a great way to start.”

While in the UA VIP program, Lormon hopes to gain more understanding of electronic controls and components. He also wants to learn how to install full HVAC systems in different buildings. 

Army Sgt. John Kuykendall has similar goals for his time in the UA VIP program. 

“While I’m in the UA VIP program my goal is to learn a new trade to be better prepared for a career outside the Army,” Kuykendall said. 

After he graduates from the UA VIP program and is placed at a UA Local Union, Kuykendall’s goal is to continue to learn about the trade as a UA apprentice and grow in his civilian career. 

Students training for HVAC-R careers can earn certifications in HVAC refrigeration, UA 51 brazing, OSHA and more. 

The UA VIP program provides 118 days of training to help transitioning service members prepare for a civilian career in welding, HVAC-R or fire suppression at seven select bases across the country:

Start preparing for your new UA career today 


After graduating from the UA VIP program, students will be placed into a DOL-registered UA apprenticeship program at an agreed-upon location. 

Once VIP graduates are placed at a UA Local, they will begin their five-year apprenticeship. VIP graduates will continue to learn during their apprenticeship program through classroom instruction and on-the-job training. 

After completing the apprenticeship program, UA VIP graduates will go on to become journeymen which will create extensive opportunities and career paths.

VIP graduates will earn good pay while working as apprentices and will receive regular wage increases as they continue to grow their skills. 

Active-duty service members still looking for a civilian career when they are out of the military are encouraged to apply for the UA VIP program.