Union Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Technicians


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VIP instructors prepare graduates for life after service

UA VIP - JBLM Welding

Army Sergeant Adam Proffit learned a lot from the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Program, and now as a UA apprentice, he is encouraging others to apply for the VIP Program too.

“The program is great,” Proffit said. “The instructors explain a lot about what to expect and how the UA works compared to the military.”

The VIP Program is designed to prepare active-duty transitioning military service members for a career in the pipe trades by teaching them entry level skills during the final 18-weeks of their service. This Career Skills program is open to any active-duty transitioning military service members and is offered at seven military installations, nationwide.

Adam Proffit UA VIPCompared to other SkillBridge programs, the VIP Program made a lasting impression on Proffit because it leads to UA membership.

“The VIP Program stuck out to me because I wanted to get into the UA.”

Upon graduation from the VIP Program and successful transition out of the military, VIP graduates are guaranteed job placement with a UA signatory contractor. Currently, these contractors are experiencing a need for new tradesmen and tradeswomen, the VIP Program does a great job of filling these openings with trained individuals.

For this, Proffit is thankful. He now has a career where he learns on the job and continues to build his skillset.

In addition to job placement, VIP graduates gain direct entry to the five-year UA registered apprenticeship program. Here the graduates build on their skills and learn on the job from experienced UA members and in the classroom from accredited instructors.

Proffit is now a 4th year apprentice at UA Local 26 in Lacey, WA and is employed by D.M. Kelly.

Careers in the pipe trades as members of the UA are highly beneficial to veterans. These careers do not require a college degree, as they provide on-the-job training. Additionally, the benefits are unmatched. They provide full family health insurance and retirement benefits, such as a 401k and pension.

Although Proffit completed the UA VIP accelerated welding program, like some apprentices, he discovered another aspect of the pipe trades that he fell in love with - plumbing. Now Proffit works in a variety of settings as a plumber including prisons, medical facilities, an aquarium and more.

To learn more about the UA VIP Program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, please click here.