On April 14, members and leaders of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), representatives of the Finishing Contractors Association International (FCA), local political leaders, and U.S. Army leaders gathered for the graduation of five military members from the new Painters and Allied Trades Veterans Program (PAT-VP).

 “We created the Painters and Allied Trades Veterans Program to not only build our own ranks with the best and brightest the country has to offer, but to also do our part to thank the brave men and women of our military for their service,” said IUPAT General President Kenneth Rigmaiden to the graduates and attendees at the ceremony.

The mission of PAT-VP is to recruit transitioning members from all branches of the U.S. military and to train them with the skills necessary to build a successful career in construction. Currently, the PAT-VP program is concentrating on training these new recruits in industrial coatings, one of the fastest-growing careers in the finishing trades thanks to planned and current investment in U.S. infrastructure, and the construction and maintenance of energy facilities. An industrial coatings applicator applies coatings to complex steel and iron structures such as power generating facilities, bridges, marine facilities and vessels, and storage tanks.

The program is funded in part by the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, an organization that represents men and women in North America who work in the finishing trades – commercial and industrial coatings, glazing and glasswork, drywall finishing, floor covering installation, and sign and display.  Its industry partner, the Finishing Contractors Association International, represents the companies that employ the men and women of the IUPAT.  Their mutual goal for this program is to give back to the men and women who have served our country.

“We at the FCA are proud to partner with the IUPAT in this great program,” said Mike Cassidy, Chair of FCA International.  “I know first-hand how valuable veterans are to have on a job site in terms of discipline, learning new skills and a daily commitment to getting the job done the right way.  This program will put IUPAT signatory companies and the IUPAT workforce at the top of the list to receive great American veterans seeking another place to make a positive difference.  What an outstanding win-win way to enhance our collective workforce.”

Specialist Dustin LaValley, Sargeant Nicholas Meade, Specialist Andrew Saldana, Sargeant Wesley Stewart and Specialist Deven Wolfe of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Ft. Lewis, WA, successfully completed a three-week program in the IUPAT Industrial Coatings Applicator Training for Military Installations.  The program entailed classroom and hands-on training at the base, as well as IUPAT District Council 5 near Seattle.

The IUPAT reports that each of these graduates have been placed on jobs in the United States thanks to their new training.

“You deserve the opportunity to build a successful life for yourself outside of the military,” Rigmaiden told the graduates.  “You’ve worked hard for years to build an unequalled sense of discipline and commitment to your job in the service, and you deserve a career where you can put that same discipline and commitment to work for you and your family to build a life and profession that you can be proud of.”

The PAT-VP program is planned near other bases in the United States, while expanding its scope of training courses offered to transitioning military members to give them the opportunity to find a job.