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— by Julie Sneider, Associate Editor
Railroads are gearing up for a talent shortage in the not-too-distant future, as thousands of boomer-age employees retire, leave their jobs and take years of valuable experience with them.
Railroads expect to hire more than 12,000 people in 2014, up from a projected 11,000 new hires in 2013, according to the Association of American Railroads. Many of those hires are occuring because of retirements. As a result, employee recruitment and worker retention are top of mind for the industry’s human resource leaders.
Progressive Railroading has been reporting on the industry’s workforce development concerns for the past several years. In 2013, we decided to take that coverage a step further by creating the Rising Stars recognition program to highlight some of the industry’s up-and-comers. We asked readers to help us identify 20 individuals under the age of 40 who are making a positive difference in the rail industry early in their careers. This year, like last, readers responded with more than 100 nominations of people who appear to be well on their way to successful careers.
Some of the 2014 class of Rising Stars come from railroad families, while others landed in the business by following advice from mentors, serving engineering internships, getting a call from a headhunter or attending on-campus interview sessions with Class I recruiters.
Progressive Railroading will publish profiles of each award winner in the September issue. New to this year’s Rising Stars program: The magazine will honor the 2014 winners on Sept. 14 at the Union League Club of Chicago during the American Association of Railroad Superintendents' Annual Meeting. Dinner reservations for single seats and table sponsorships (10 tickets) can be made at www.progressiverailroading.com/risingstars.
The 2014 award winners are: