Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16of the practical things—like getting to work on time and the importance of all of those things that go along with just being a good employee.” Clinton Morris, who was a classmate of Willie’s, is also working in a fabrication facility in Colorado Springs with contractor Pipeline Spe- cialties. “I love this job,” Clinton said. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else but welding pipe now. Everyone here at Pipeline has been so great to me. I haven’t met anyone that I don’t like yet. It’s just been a great experience so far.” He went on to say, “A typical day starts at 7:00 a.m., and we work until the day is done. I go in, and everyone gets together to make a game plan for the day. We’re assigned to different areas. I am usually with a pipefitter. ey fit pipe for me. ey teach me about the trade, and I weld pipe for them. We then pass it on to the next person.” Clinton stated that he would tell everyone who was investigating the VIP program as a second career aer the military that if it was something they were interested in, they should go for it. “I never struck an arc in my life,” Clinton said, “so don’t let that put you off.” Philip Scharke, who is Clinton’s foreman at the shop and views Clinton as a real asset to Pipeline Specialties, said, “I’m a 35-year UA member, and I have done everything. My job has taken me around the world. My last job was in Asia. I worked for a contractor out of Portland, OR. It’s been a great career.” Mr. Scharke said the shop is currently working on a chill water system for a Boulder-based space weather company. e system was designed to keep its computers cool. ey were also working on some piping systems for the barracks at Fort Carson. “Clinton was definitely prepared for the job,” Mr. Scharke said. “He is an apprentice now, and the program definitely gave him a step ahead with welding. He has a lot of discipline and the work ethic that the military instilled in him. He’s up early and ready to hit it right off the bat.” John Cote is working as an HVACR technician with Olson Plumbing and Heating one year out of the VIP program. He spent 14 years in the Air Force as an electrician and then graduated from the UA’s HVACR VIP program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington State. Unlike Willie, who opted to stay put in Colorado Springs close to where he was based, John chose Colorado Springs as his employment option be- cause of the long-term job prospects in the area. He joined Local 58 in Colorado Springs as a sec- ond-year apprentice. He said, in reference to choosing HVACR over welding, that he felt his elec- trical experience would benefit that side of the program. John ex- plained, “I got my basic certifica- tion. I didn’t know that I would get that many certifications. I was actually thankful we were able to get basic refrigeration certifica- tion. at helps quite a bit, partic- ularly when you are starting out in the apprenticeship.” John was employed within four days of graduation. “I work at Olson now,” he said, “but I started in a company called AMS. We did a project at William Palmer High School installing a large boiler sys- tem. We were installing steam pipes. I got to work with a lot of fitters and welders, and there was another HVACR guy working alongside me. I was helping them move large steam pipes, moving them into position, and we tested the piping system. It was a very good experience. ey finished the project, and once that was done, I went to the hall. ey said that there was an opportunity with Olson. I started there the following Monday.” John stated that the HVACR VIP program had a lot of hands-on learning. He was grateful that he was able to look at different systems and gain an understanding of how they all worked. He said, “Having the credentials is so important. You have to want to learn. e more you learn about the HVACR systems, the more you will be able to gain those credentials, and people will want to have you join their company.” John is doing resi- dential work now, and he travels with a journey- man who has become a mentor. For VIP graduate Tess Biesecker, who gradu- ated from the JBLM Welding program in 2013, and recently transferred from Plumbers and Pip- efitters Local 234 in Jacksonville, FL, to Pipefit- ters Local 636 in Detroit, MI., the VIP program has exceeded her expectations. In Florida, Sister Biesecker was steadily employed and had many different experiences. As things took a turn in her personal life, she looked to move back to her home state of Michigan. Tess reported that Local 234 Business Manager Ronnie Andrews was very helpful in assisting her with that transfer. Tess has moved to Detroit and is settling in with Local 636. She is excited. She remembers the first day she walked into Conti Mechanical, the Clinton Morris Fort Carson Welding Class 01, second-year apprentice CAREERops “The military teaches you all about hard work. I take it with me every day. They taught me a lot about caring about my work. That’s been really beneficial to me.” – Clinton Morris 8