The first class of students in KBR's Veteran Pipefitting Program recently celebrated their graduation in DeRidder, Louisiana. The soldier-trainees participated in a ceremony and dinner event where they were recognized for the successful completion of the rigorous, fast paced pipefitting training course.
The first class of graduates from the Veteran Pipefitting Training Program at their graduation ceremony.
KBR announced the Veteran Pipefitting Training Program in March 2016 with the goal of preparing active duty military for an industrial civilian career following their military service. The initiative is a partnership between KBR, Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Center, and Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC), located in Vernon Parish, Louisiana. The program gives trainees both classroom-based and hands-on performance training over the course of the sixteen week pipefitting training program.
Soldiers are trained at CLTCC and are prepared to be hired on as KBR pipefitters.
The first class of soldiers began training in August. The soldiers learned skills like pipefitting trade math, pipe fabrication, and soft skills such as problem solving, decision making, and leadership training. Following the successful completion of the course, trainees will be hired on as KBR pipefitters.
Soldiers in the program partnered with other welding students at CLTCC so that both classes could get hands-on practice while working together to enhance the training for everyone involved. The trainees also took part in jobsite visits to gain a better understanding of overall construction projects and see firsthand the pipe and equipment they will soon be working on as KBR employees. The most recent site visit included a site safety brief, fab shop tour, maintenance and new construction area tour. The site visit had a significant impact on the group who after four months in a classroom and lab environment were excited to experience the job site. Throughout the training, safety was a top priority as a key tenet in KBR's work process. Trainees learned the importance of safety procedures and of protective gear such cut-resistant gloves, fire retardant clothing, safety eyewear, hearing protection, and fall protection.
Soldiers receive hands-on and classroom training during the rigorous sixteen week course.
At the ceremony, the eight graduates were presented with a certificate and credentials from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), a pipefitter helper starter tool kit, a special Fort Polk challenge coin specifically created for the course, and a certificate from CLTCC recognizing their completion of 28 credit hours. The top three graduates also received fire retardant pants and shirt.
"The students are very excited to see what's in store for them once separated from the Army and they become KBR pipefitters," said Heath Culbertson, KBR Workforce Development Manager and Veteran Liaison. "These are very motivated individuals and their pride is evident when you speak with them. I believe that with the right fostering and mentorship, we could be looking at our next KBR field leadership in the very near future," Culbertson continued.
The graduation was attended by Fort Polk base command leadership, CLTCC and KBR senior leaders. Upon graduation, trainees will join the KBR team and put their hard work, dedication, and training to the test. The next class will begin on February 14, 2017.