BUSINESS, UNIONS PARTNER TO GIVE TRAINING, JOB OPPORTUNITY FOR COLORADO VETS
Landmark National Program Marks Graduation of 14 Ft. Carson Combat Veterans
(COLORADO SPRINGS) — A landmark national program that unites contractors and labor unions to train and employ returning Colorado veterans in the construction industry graduated 14 veterans on July 9, 2014 at a ceremony in Colorado Springs. The accelerated 18-week Veterans In Piping (VIP) program trains combat veterans – at no cost — in welding, pipefitting and plumbing.
A partnership between the Mechanical Contractors Association of Colorado and the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union No. 58 in Colorado Springs VIP places veterans who successfully complete the program a 2nd or 3rd year apprentice, depending on their military experience. They also can earn industry-recognized certifications as a part of their education. This makes the VIP veteran graduates very attractive to contractors looking for skilled plumbers and welders on their construction sites.
Governor Hickenlooper gave the keynote address at the graduation ceremony. “[The graduates’ military] experience creates a set of skills that are going to translate into making great employees…all of us who run businesses spend our time out there trying to find people just like you. This program creates a pipeline to get you guys to the kinds of jobs you want and creates a set of skills in each of you that allow you to navigate into a job that you really want to call a career,” said Hickenlooper.
The program is also helps reduce the high unemployment rate among veterans.
“We’re proud to work with our partners in the labor movement to provide a pathway for veterans to a family-sustaining career in the construction industry,” said Dave Davia, executive vice president and CEO of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Colorado. “This unique program promises to be a great source of workers for Colorado contractors and a small way for us to say thanks to these veterans for their sacrifices for our country.”
“The VIP program is a win for everyone involved,” said Ron Lenz, Business Manager for Local Union No. 58. “Our industry gets new, well-trained workers, and veterans get access to lifelong career.