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Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF earns military hiring honors, helps secure locomotive repair training agreement

BNSF Railway Co. recently received a 2014 "Best of The Best" Award from U.S. Veterans magazine for being rated one of the nation's top veteran-friendly companies.

BNSF's ranking was based on the results of the magazine's poll of numerous Fortune 1000 companies. The railroad's outreach efforts to veterans include career fairs, transition assistance, social media and other job advertising methods.

This year, BNSF representatives expect to attend 160 military-related recruiting events. The railroad works with more than 400 military-related agencies to promote job opportunities to veterans.

Military veterans currently comprise 17 percent of the company's workforce. BNSF has hired more than 1,300 veterans so far in 2014, and more than 6,500 since 2005.

"It's a 'win-win' when we can reinforce our railroad with our nation's veterans, who are extremely dedicated to accomplishing the task and proven in their skills," said BNSF Manager of Military Staffing John Wesley in an item posted on the "BNSF News" web page.

BNSF also announced that the National Academy of Railroad Sciences (NARS) has entered into a training agreement with Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Ill., pertaining to locomotive repair courses. Johnson County Community College (JCCC) in Overland Park, Kan., and a BNSF supervisor helped secure the agreement.

Beginning next spring, Carl Sandburg College will offer an educational curriculum on locomotive mechanics and locomotive electrical systems, similar to coursework offered at BNSF's Technical Training Center at JCCC.

Dave Andersen, the general foreman at BNSF's Galesburg diesel facility, and local educators coordinated the agreement with NARS. Over the past seven years, they have worked together to find solutions to meet rail-related workforce training needs in the area.

"Our focus has been to help students prepare for careers while cultivating an interest in BNSF and the skilled mechanical trades," said Anderson in a "BNSF News" item. "The railroad wasn't seeing the number of graduates we'd like to see because training wasn't available locally, nor was there a focus on railroad trade skills or careers. As a result, many of the local people that would apply for BNSF jobs didn't have the ideal background or education."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/22/2014