United Association’s Veterans in Piping program launches latest expansion

The first class in the latest expansion of a nationwide partnership that trains veterans for, and places them in, careers in the plumbing and pipefitting industry is underway at Camp Douglas, Wisconsin.

The United Association’s Veterans in Piping, or VIP, offers 20 weeks of training necessary to become an apprentice. It includes 18 weeks of skills training and two weeks of transition to help veterans successfully return to civilian life. Job placement is guaranteed upon successful completion. The training is paid for by the United Association and free to returning heroes.

“We want to ensure veterans they have the training and support necessary for a successful career, and life, after their time in the military,” said William Hite, general president of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipe Fitters, Welders and HVACR Technicians, or UA. “Our vision of making the Veterans in Piping program available to men and women nationwide is happening with this much-anticipated expansion to Wisconsin.”

One of the Wisconsin locals supporting the program is UA Local 434, which represents the central and western portions of Wisconsin.

“VIP is going to give us access to some of the best applicants for apprenticeship,” said Terry Hayden, business manager for Local 434. “Not only is it going to allow us to reach out to the military veterans, but also will give them 20 weeks of intensive training to give them the foundation of skills needed once they are working in the trade.”

Camp Douglas is the third VIP site nationwide. Sixteen veterans are taking part.

The first is in Lacey, Wash. The second is at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Combined, the Washington and California initiatives have graduated more than 200 veterans from all branches of service.

The Wisconsin initiative is a partnership between the United Association, the Wisconsin Army National Guard and the Department of Workforce Development. It launches at a time when the unemployment rate for young veterans is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Historically, our veterans have always been under-employed,” said Anne St. Eloi, a UA special representative who works with the VIP program. “If they can find work, it’s usually something low-paying that doesn’t match any of the skills they’ve learned in the military. We are working to change that.”

The two weeks of transition training is led by Judae Bost’n, Ed.D.

“Military members and veterans are often unaware of the incredible skills they developed while serving,” Bost’n said. “In the ‘re-booting’ training, they are immersed in an accelerated process to assess, clarify and hone their strengths; find out how they learn and process information so they can take full advantage of the training provided to prepare to enter a new band of brothers and sisters, the locals who will be their home.”

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Manny Perez said the pre-apprenticeship training in welding that the United Association is providing at Camp Douglas is incredibly important.

“The Veterans in Piping initiative provides Wisconsin's veterans with an opportunity to train for a guaranteed good job, and the program helps to meet a need to prepare individuals for welding careers," Secretary Perez said. "As different specialized manufacturing sectors such as Bucyrus compete more globally, the demand for specialized welders may increase, hence the need for a pipeline of skilled welders."

Mike Arndt, director of training for the UA, said the program at Camp Douglas offers training to veterans in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. “We are delighted to have the VIP program expanding to this very strategic area of the country.”

For more information about the VIP program, go to www.uavip.org.

from a United Association’s Veterans in Piping Press Release:


Rick Terven Sr.

(410) 269-2000