Free Training in Pipe Trades Available to Veterans Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Free Training in Pipe Trades Available to Veterans

High-quality skills training is available to active-duty military personnel preparing to leave the service through the Veterans in Piping (VIP) program.

U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Francis prepares to lead the members of the 13th Army Band, Florida Army National Guard, during the Miami Beach Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11, 2014, in Miami Beach, Fla. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Free high-quality skills training in the pipe trades is available to active-duty military personnel preparing to leave the service through the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada’s (UA’s) Veterans in Piping (VIP) program.

Participants enroll in accelerated 18-week courses in welding, fire-sprinkler fitting, and/or HVACR service and earn industry-recognized certifications.

“Our program provides veterans with the skills needed to secure and hold down a job,” Robert Carr, VIP sprinkler-fitter instructor, said. “In fact, as part of our program, graduates are guaranteed a paid union apprenticeship at one of the UA Locals of their choice.”

According to Bureau of Labor statistics from 2014, 36 percent of Gulf War II-era veterans (September 2001 to present) serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both had an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent. The Bureau reports the occupational outlook for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is growing faster than average. The demand stems from new-building construction projects and stricter water-efficiency standards for plumbing systems, as well as the gap created by retiring craftsmen.

“The copper-piping intensive training courses of the VIP produces graduates who are prepared for every tough copper-piping field application,” Dale Powell, project manager and piping-applications specialist for the Copper Development Association (CDA), which collaborated with UA to develop a 40-hour copper installation training curriculum as part of the VIP sprinkler initiative, said.

For more information and to sign up for VIP programs, go to http://uavip.org/.

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