Union Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Technicians


Take a look at some of the newsworthy items for the VIP program.

Welding certifications and training give VIP graduates a leg up

UA Veterans in Piping - JBLM welding

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.Andrew Bradley - Work example

“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.