WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- A new directive from the Department of Defense (DOD) will revolutionize the transition of military personnel back into civilian life, with increased opportunities for skills training and meaningful employment, according to the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Welders and HVAC Service Technicians (UA). Issued as mandatory guidelines to all service branches, this initiative will promote participation by military personnel in skills training and career-readiness programs—programs prototyped by the UA's Veterans in Piping (VIP) Program. Commenting on the initiative, UA General President William Hite declared:
"This is a major victory for all the brave men and women in our military who are coming home after serving their country so well. There is no one else who deserves America's gratitude and assistance more. President Obama put it best when he said 'those who fight for their country should not have to fight for a job when they come home.' This is what the UA VIP Program is all about—giving our veterans the type of good training and good jobs they deserve. DOD's new directive will help make sure this happens. Every service member will now have access to the transition assistance they need, including the best apprenticeship and skills training program available, as well as certifications and other credentials, the private sector has to offer. The UA VIP program is the leading skills training program for veterans and the only one that includes guaranteed employment opportunities."
The Defense guidelines are based on the Vow to Hire Heroes Act, a law sponsored in 2011 by Senator Patty Murray (D. WA), which requires service agencies to provide a full range of transition assistance to military personnel preparing to leave the armed forces, including counseling, apprenticeships and other skills training programs. The UA led the effort to win this legislation and the success and reputation of VIP was a deciding factor, according to General President Hite. "The quick enactment of this legislation shows what can be done when differences are put aside," said President Hite. "We had been told that we couldn't do this training under existing federal law. That's why we went to Sen. Murray and our other Congressional allies, and in a very short time, we were able to have the law amended to give these veterans the opportunity they deserve."
The Heroes Act was signed into law on November 21, 2011. Exactly one year later, on November 21, 2012, the Defense Department issued its official guidelines for this law. "Remarkable" declared Retired Major General Matt Caulfield (U.S. Marine Corps), a leading expert in veterans' employment issues. "They told us DOD action could take up to three or four years, but the United Association was determined to make sure veterans would not have to wait for the help they need. It launched a high-level educational campaign with key lawmakers and administration officials and, as a result, these guidelines were done in record time."
Now, as General Caulfield explained, we "have mandatory requirements that people in the military, on any military base in the world, get skills training and other transition assistance prior to discharge. This includes apprenticeship training, such as the UA VIP Program, which is truly unique because it is the only program out there that also guarantees a good job for the service person once they complete training." He added: "No one else has ever done this. It's truly extraordinary. The UA is an organization that has the integrity to go the extra mile to overcome any obstacle placed in the way. And, they do it, in the words of President Hite, because it's 'the right thing to do' for our veterans."
The leading pro-veteran group behind the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, as well as the new DOD policy, the UA has long been committed to building effective bridges from military service to valuable careers in the private-sector. In recognition of these efforts, General President Hite was the first labor leader in history to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Military Officers Association of America and DOD has requested the UA's assistance in developing training standards for transition programs that will be used all over the world under the new guidelines.
*The DOD guidelines referenced in this press release are set forth in Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 12-007: Implementation of Mandatory Transition Assistance Program Participation for Eligible Service Members" available at: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/DTM-12-007.pdf
Media Contact: Rick Terven United Association, 410-269-2000, RickT@uanet.org
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SOURCE United Association