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The North Carolina Department of Transportation's (NCDOT) rail division is partnering with the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte on a rail workforce assessment study.The study will determine the need for a North Carolina-based railroad certificate, degree or training program at one of the state's colleges or universities, NCDOT officials said in a press release. The first step in the four-phase study will focus on compiling skills, education and training needed in both passenger and freight rail operations. The initial phase also will help assess current workforce for availability of these qualities, NCDOT officials said."This study will help identify the steps needed to ensure that we are developing the workforce required by our rail carriers, both passenger and freight, as well as their supply chain, so that our transportation network meets the needs of our industries and communities," said David Causey, assistant director of EPIC.A final report is expected June 2016. The information gathered will help NCDOT develop future phases of the workforce development study and partner with the selected educational institution, railroads and other stakeholders to develop and implement curriculum.