Congratulations to participants of the high school apprentice program, and to graduates of the VIP Program (Veterans in Piping) offered through the UA Local 26! The Local 26 in Lacey, WA hosted a 2-part event that ended with the VIP graduation ceremony on June 30, 2022.
Part 1: High School Apprentice Program
Part 1 was an apprentice program made up of 15 Olympia and Tacoma high school students. Wayne Wallace participated as a speaker, sharing insight from the welding industry, job markets, and information about the welding supplies they would be using for hands-on training. Wayne is Outside Sales Rep for our Pacific Welding Supplies location in Olympia, WA. Gift Bags with welding swag were donated from Central Welding Supply headquarters in support of the events.
Wayne Wallace has worked with the Local 26 for years. “In the last decade I’ve seen many success stories created from the VIP program. Most of the participants could not identify a welding machine on their first day. On the last day they leave with a Union job – usually, in the state and city of their choice,” said Wayne.
Wayne Wallace, Outside Sales for our Pacific Welding Supplies location in Olympia has created a history of support that benefits education for students in the welding trades.
Central Welding Supply is happy to play a part in support of welding education. Our location managers and sales teams represent 1,000 years of welding expertise with first-hand knowledge on a broad range of applications and careers in the welding and gases industries.
The Local 26 Facebook page offers more information about events and training programs.
Part 2: VIP Program Graduation Ceremony
Part 2 of the Local 26 event was the ceremony to honor graduates of the Veterans in Piping Program. The VIP in Piping program trains military members for a career in the pipe trades.
Former VIP student, Jeremy Rood serves as Lead Welding Instructor. He’s been a proud member of the UA of Plumbers and Pipefitters for nearly 12 years. Jeremy began his career as a student in the VIP Program in 2009 and is currently working towards his U.A. Instructor Certification and bachelor’s degree.
VIP Program History
The Veterans in Piping program commenced in Lacey, WA in 2008 with the Washington State National Guard at Camp Murray. Later, it expanded to Veterans nation-wide. Since 2008 a total of 2,720 transitioning service members have been trained through the UA VIP Program.
Veterans in Piping graduates are paid approximately 50% of Journeymen in their skilled trade for the geographic area where they work with regular salary increases until they obtain journey-level status.
“We’re always happy to help, and to provide support for welding and cutting processes, equipment operation and maintenance. The goal is to support customers everyday welding operation and maintenance to keep equipment running smoothly,” said Wallace. Equipment and Repair Division services are extended through each of our 27 locations.
Central Welding Supply extends our very best wishes to all the high school students who participated in the apprentice program. Your future looks bright!
To our honored veterans who graduated from the VIP Program, we’re grateful for the career opportunities that Local 26 offers to prepare transitioning service members with the skills for a profitable future. We thank you for your service!