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Plumbers & Steamfitters’ Veterans In Piping Program ‘Helps’ Marine Sergeant ‘Land Good Paying Career After Exiting The Military’

Published Sunday, May 1, 2022
by Veterans in Piping News
Plumbers & Steamfitters’ Veterans In Piping Program ‘Helps’ Marine Sergeant ‘Land Good Paying Career After Exiting The Military’

(JACKSONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA) - For United Association (UA) Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 155 Brother Brandon Harwood, a Marine Sergeant who transitioned out of the Military in 2015, the Veterans in Piping Program took him from one Brotherhood to another.

He left the fellowship of his fellow Marines to join his Union Brothers and Sisters in a good paying career with excellent benefits.

“Union is the only real way to go,” Harwood says. “You earn better pay and benefits while you still have the camaraderie you're used to.  My Union is my Brothers.  In a lot of ways, it feels just like the military.”

During the last few months of his military career, Harwood joined the Skillbridge VIP program Accelerated Welding Class at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Through an 18-week Accelerated Training Program, he learned basic welding skills alongside an experienced Journeyman Instructor through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training.

He earned industry-recognized certifications that gave him a leg up on his peers.

He also gained direct entry into a Registered Apprenticeship Program with the United Association, which provides a well-paying career with numerous Union Benefits.

The VIP Program was created to address a growing shortage of skilled Workers in the Construction Industry.

It’s designed to help transitioning Members of the Military find good paying careers after serving their country.

Harwood has joined Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 155 in Little Rock, Arkansas and began a five-year Apprenticeship Program to learn how to weld.

He earned good Union wages from the beginning.

His family was eligible for Health Care Benefits and he began earning a pension.

He also earned pay raises as he gradually progressed through the program.

Upon completing his Apprenticeship, Harwood became a Journeyman.

He regularly works on nuclear plants, chemical plants and paper mills - installing chillers and changing out boilers.

Harwood says the UA VIP Program was central to his success and that he’d highly recommend it to others.

Click Here To Learn More About UA VIP Welding Opportunities At Camp Lejeune.

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