General President William P. Hite to Receive Distinguished Service Award from the Military Officers Association of America

WASHINGTON D.C. – William P. Hite, General President of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipe Fitters, Welders and HVACR Technicians, will be honored with the Distinguished Service Award from one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious military organizations, for his work in supporting our nation’s veterans.

The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) will present General President Hite with the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 12 for leading the United Association’s “outstanding initiatives in training and connecting veterans with post-service employment opportunities.”

“I am humbled to be counted among those who work consistently and diligently to provide our service men and women the opportunities they so deeply deserve,” Hite said. “Members of our military make so many sacrifices for our nation. It is an honor and a privilege to help ensure they have a meaningful career to come home to.”

In nominating General President Hite for the award, Major General Matthew P. Caulfield, USMC (Ret), said Hite believes it is a responsibility of the United Association to train and assist veterans in securing a post-military career. “Hite seldom addresses the membership without mention of this core value. He insists that veterans within the United Association are featured in trade publications and internal media. He also personally gets involved in the training program for veterans.”

The United Association has become one of the leading organizations in the United States to train and place veterans. The UA was the first to change federal and state apprenticeship standards to include military skills training.

Under Hite’s leadership the Veterans in Piping program, or VIP, was created to provide high-quality training and re-entry guidance to military veterans. VIP graduates are placed in jobs with lifelong career opportunities where they can earn highly competitive wages and excellent benefits.

Veterans receive 18 weeks of intense training, paid for entirely by the United Association. Successful graduates are guaranteed placement as an apprentice in the trade. To date, approximately 200 veterans have graduated. For more information, visit www.uavip.org.

Hite is serving as the Workforce Readiness Committee chairman on President Barack Obama’s Presidential Export Council and is a committee member of the U.S. Manufacturing Council on Competitiveness. He had previously served on the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations under former President George W. Bush. In these high-profile roles, and as the leader of a prominent labor union, he consistently speaks “in support of veterans and encourages corporate co-members to institute programs that address the problem of veteran unemployment,” Caulfield wrote.

Furthermore, Hite obtained inclusion of a “Sense of Congress” provision in the FY 2011 Defense Authorization Bill. The provision encourages participation in apprenticeship programs by members of the armed forces prior to discharge.

Under his leadership, the “United Association has a special regard and consideration for members called to active duty,” Caulfield wrote. “Usually, a picture of the member is displayed in a prominent place in the local union hall. Most importantly, families of the members are taken care of in a manner that should also be a model for our country.”

Previous recipients of the Distinguished Service Award include former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairmen Generals Colin Powell and John Shalikashvili, former Secretary of Defense Dr. William Perry, and NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw. Hite is the only labor leader to receive this award.

Co-recipients of the 2011 Distinguished Service Award include Dollar General Corporation for its support of Guard and Reserve employees; Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, commanding general of the Army Reserve Command, for his initiatives to support Reserve families and employers; and Sesame Workshop, which partnered with the USO to help military families deal with the hardship of deployment.