The Copper Development Association and the Plumbers and Pipefitters union is trying to help Iraq war veterans find civilian careers.

The CDA and union have created a 40-hour education program that is part of the union’s 18-week program aimed at veterans. It teaches copper installation procedures for fire sprinkler systems.

Federal statistics say veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have an 8.4 unemployment rate. The current national unemployment rate is 5.1 percent.

This program helps reduce that rate, said instructor Robert Carr.

“Our program provides veterans with the skills needed to secure and hold down a job,” Carr said. “In fact, as part of our program, graduates are guaranteed a paid union apprenticeship at one of the UA (United Association) locals of their choice.”

Dale Powell, CDA project manager and piping applications specialist, said the program produces the kind of applicants contractors need.

“The copper piping intensive training courses of the VIP (Veterans in Piping) produces graduates who are prepared for every tough copper piping field application,” Powell said. “We are proud and honored to be a part of this training program for veterans who are looking to re-enter the workforce across America.”