VIP initiative helps military veterans update job skills

Military veterans seeking career training just got some VIP help.

The Veteran and Industry Partnership (VIP), offered at Victoria College through the Texas Workforce Commission, was initiated to update job skills for veterans and supply a skilled and ready workforce for some of the state’s most high-demand industries.

Area military veterans entering the VIP initiative can receive training as an electrician, millwright, welder or a pipefitter to enable them to work in the petrochemical, advanced manufacturing and information technology industries. The training began Jan. 13, but veterans can still apply for upcoming courses.

Todd Brown, seeking a job in the electrical field, is among three veterans who signed up for the first training class.

“This has been a very busy and productive core curriculum course,” said Brown, who served nine years in the Navy’s submarine fleet. “The instructor is doing a good job of delivering the information, and I’m looking forward to starting the Electrical I course as soon as we finish this.”

Brown encouraged other veterans to take advantage of the training.

“This is a great opportunity for any veteran interested in changing careers or getting an education to move into a field of his or her interest,” he said. “It’s a great program.”

Fellow Navy veteran Raul Yanez will join Brown in the Electrical I course. Another student, Air Force veteran Douglas McCarty, is planning to take Welding I.

All eligible U.S. veterans can participate in VIP, but the training at Victoria College is limited to 32 slots.

“Veterans have proven technical skills, which is what we need to respond to Texas’ growing manufacturing industry,” said Sherri Pall, VC Workforce & Continuing Education director. “We are proud to partner with the Texas Workforce Commission and Workforce Solutions Golden Crescent to train veterans in these high-demand occupations.”

TWC has designated $4.3 million from the state’s Skills Development Fund to establish the initiative, which brings together industry associations, local Workforce Solutions partners and community colleges to offer training in key industry occupations for veterans. Local workforce development boards have partnered with industry leaders and 17 colleges throughout Texas to identify high-demand workforce needs in local areas and develop expedited training programs for veterans as part of the VIP initiative. Students completing the training receive National Center for Construction, Education and Research certification.

The training developed by VIP will give veterans credit for their years of training and experience in the military and emphasize the need for immediate job placement after completion,” said Ronny Congleton, TWC commissioner representing labor. “Texas veterans and service members have answered the call to serve our nation in large numbers, and providing a fast path to employment is one way we can thank them for that service.”

Along with VC, other regional colleges participating in this program include: Alvin Community College in Alvin, Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Lee College in Baytown, Lone Star College in Houston, Houston Community College in Houston, and San Jacinto College in Pasadena.

Veterans applying to the VIP initiative at Victoria College must submit their DD-214 Report of Separation form. To qualify for the training, they must not be currently serving on active duty or in the reserves, or have been dishonorably discharged from military service.

For more information, contact Rachel Nessel at (361) 582-2575 or email

Photo caption: Pipe-cutting was among the core curriculum lessons learned by military veterans, from left, Raul Yanez, Todd Brown and Douglas McCarty. The three are participating in Victoria College’s Veteran and Industry Partnership, launched through the Texas Workforce Commission, to update job skills for veterans and supply a skilled and steady workforce.

Published: Friday, 30 January 2015

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