The UA is extremely proud of the men and women of the armed forces.  To that end, in conjunction with the U.S. military, we offer the Veterans in Piping (VIP) program, which provides veterans with transitional assistance and accelerated welding training in preparation for promising careers in the piping industry.  This program, which began at Fort Lewis in Washington State, has since been expanded to Camp Pendleton in California, where we are on our seventh class, and to Fort McCoy and Camp Douglas in Wisconsin.  We ultimately hope to offer this program all across the country and reach as many veterans as possible.  

The Right Thing To Do

The Veterans in Piping {VIP) program offers training and employment opportunities to service personnel leaving the U.S. Armed Forces. This is a partnership between the United Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters and the U.S. military to establish a pathway to apprenticeship and a lifelong career for veterans. The program has already trained hundreds of our veterans with a job placement record of over 80%. The UA is expanding our VIP program to military bases throughout the U.S. The program is ongoing in Washington State, at Camp Pendleton in California and at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.

The Challenge

• Since September 2011, approximately 2 million service men and women have served valiantly in the armed forces.
• The unemployment rate for those veterans is far higher than the national average, especially among 18 to 24-year-olds, where the rate exceeds 21 percent.
• Many younger service men and women, especially those who went from high school directly into the military, have a difficult time adjusting to civilian life and need additional support.

The Solution

The UA's program, which is free to veterans, offers the following:

• Two weeks of transitional training to help veterans make a smooth adjustment to civilian life
• Sixteen weeks of accelerated training leading to entry into a UA local union as a second-year apprentice
• Certification as a skilled UA welder and employment, in most cases, in the area of the veteran's choosing
• Opportunities to acquire not only journey -level status but additional certifications leading to careers as stewards, foremen and superintendents

The Benefit to Our Industry

• A skilled, dedicated, drug-free and highly motivated cadre of workers with a proven work ethic
• Replenishment of an aging workforce
• Rapid development of greater numbers of skilled and certified welders, the most in-demand sector of UA skills
• The opportunity for our industry to "do the right thing" on behalf of veterans

"The (UA) program is impressive and aggressive. Almost every graduate has been placed in the best careers in the piping industry. Who deserves that more? Who has earned that more than the men and women of our armed forces?"

- Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Camp Pendleton, CA.