For some members of the military, the right path for their future does not involve transitioning out of the service and into college. Those seeking a career in a hands-on field after transitioning out of the military, like Army Specialist Andrew Bradley, can apply for the United Association Veterans in Piping (UA VIP) Program.
For Bradley, the decision was simple. He knew he wanted a hands-on career with a quality wage and benefits.
“If you are looking for a career that is hands-on with a rewarding wage and benefits, this is the job for you,” he said.
The VIP Program is an 18-week Career Skills program designed to prepare active-duty transitioning military service members for an entry level career in the pipe trades. Here they learn the skills that will set them apart from their peers. The VIP Program is open to all active-duty transitioning military service members and is offered at seven installations, nationwide.
Bradley is now a 6th period apprentice at UA Local 290 and employed by Harder Mechanical. He credits the VIP Program and his instructors with helping him get to where he is today.
“I never welded before the VIP Program,” Bradley said. “My instructors gave me the skills to earn certifications, and the skills to pursue other welding certifications after the program ended.”
After graduating from the VIP Program and transitioning out of the military, VIP graduates are guaranteed job placement with a UA signatory contractor. Here the graduates will earn a livable wage and great benefits.
The VIP Program stuck out to Bradley because of the wages and fringe benefits. He said he is thankful for the family health insurance and retirement benefits, such as a 401k plan and pension.
In addition to guaranteed job placement, VIP graduates also gain direct entry into the five-year United Association registered apprenticeship program. During this apprenticeship, VIP graduates build on their skill set through on-the-job training and work alongside experienced UA members, and in the classroom from accredited instructors.
As service members transition from the military, the UA VIP Program provides the perfect pipeline. The participants remain in a structured setting and train for a career that allows them to work with their hands, in a team environment.
To learn more about the VIP Program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, please click here.
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Video and Photo Gallery
Take a look at everything the VIP program is doing for our returning veterans — through videos and photos.
Pipefitters Local 455, St. Paul, MN, Apprentice David Adams (VIP graduate, Wisconsin Welding Class 2) is pictured on the job working for Pioneer Piping, Incorporated (PPI) at the Flint Hills Refinery in MN.
Camp Pendleton VIP Graduate turned out as Journeyman and makes a life in Butte, MT, with Local 41.
Orry graduated on April 9, 2015 and affiliated with UA Local 455, St. Paul, MN.
Sgt. Jerry Heneha, A Battery, 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery, puts together a valve system in preparation for his final week of the United Association's Veterans in Piping program at the Industrial Training Complex Photo Credit: Ms. Marie Berberea (TRADOC)
Fort Sill's inaugural Sprinkler Fitter class began on 2 March 2015.
SFC Michael Olsen and 1SG William Davidson presented their instructors Louis Purcella and Micah Tyler with a momentum from the class.
SGT Howard Nash is headed to Harrisburg, PA, to affiliate with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 520.
Gail Pilecki was so proud of her son, SGT Jeremy Pilecki, on graduation day. SGT Pilecki will make his home in Houston, affiliating with Pipefitters Local 211.
1SG William Davidson gave the graduate testimonial. He will remain with his family in Waco, TX, affiliating with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 529 in Waco, TX.
SFC Michael Olsen and his wife, Amanda, will remain in the area, affiliating with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 529 in Waco, TX.
Alysa and SPC Chad Eberle will be heading to San Antonio, TX, with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 142.
SGT Lawrence Beller, his wife, Brittney, and daughter, Nahla, will be making Houston, TX, their home, affiliating with Pipefitters Local 211.
Mouse over thumbnails to view larger videos and photos or view entire Gallery.