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CN yesterday officially opened a new $25 million employee training center in Homewood, Ill. The 55,000-square-foot suburban Chicago facility will host up to 250 CN students from across the United States each week.The center will offer classroom and hands-on courses for all key railroad jobs, ranging from conductor to car mechanic to track supervisor to signal maintainer. Employees will receive hands-on training in learning laboratories featuring such equipment as locomotive simulators and dispatcher stations, and field training in outdoor labs with dedicated rolling stock and other equipment."The opening of this state-of-the-art training center is a cornerstone in CN's workforce renewal, which this year will see the hiring of more than 3,500 employees across our North American network," said CN President and Chief Executive Officer Claude Mongeau in a press release. "Our training campus in Homewood, adjacent to CN's Woodcrest mechanical shop, will enhance our railroader training programs, help us instill a strong safety culture amongst our new hires and reinforce it across all current employees who are learning new skills or upgrading existing ones."The center is the second of two modern employee training facilities to open on CN's network in a little more than a month. On Sept. 9, the Class I opened CN Campus in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a $35 million, state-of-the-art training facility. The 100,000-square-foot facility, which will be used to train up to 350 students from across Canada every week, features laboratories, dispatcher stations and six locomotive simulators.