FRANKFORT – Members of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection learned Thursday about a training program for veterans transitioning out of the military.
The program, Veterans in Piping (VIP), was created in 2009 by the United Association (UA). It prepares soldiers leaving the military for careers in welding, plumbing and HVAC. Participating veterans complete an 18 to 20 week training course and then are directly placed into an apprenticeship.
The program is provided at no cost to participants but has an estimated value of $35,000 per apprentice, according to Bruce Dantley, a UA training specialist.
VIP helps the UA address an anticipated labor shortage of skilled craftsmen expected in the next three to five years. “The best place to get the new workforce [we’re looking for is from] the military,” he said.
Dantley told lawmakers the UA feels like veterans have earned training opportunities by serving our country. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said.
The program partners with contractors across the United States and Canada, including some here in Kentucky, to ensure graduating veterans will have employment after their training is complete, Dantley said.
The goal of the program is to provide veterans with an option for a lifelong career, he said.
Nationwide, more than 235 veterans have graduated from the program.