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Educational programs encourage high-schoolers to explore rail careers

For the past decade, Michigan Tech has offered a youth summer program for high-schoolers interested in rail transportation. In this photo, students at Michigan Tech were participating in a hands-on learning activity in summer 2022.
Photo – Peter LaMantia, Michigan Technological University


Registration has opened for the Federal Railroad Administration-sponsored 2023 "Tracks to the Future" rail transportation and engineering summer youth program, which will be held in June and July.

For the past several years, Tracks to the Future has been offered in week-long summer sessions to help high-school students learn about the high-tech and energy-efficient aspects of the rail industry. The program features virtual and on-campus classroom sessions, hands-on activities and field visits to railroads and other rail facilities, Michigan Technological University officials said in a press release.

The program started with Michigan Tech's Rail Transportation Program and has expanded to include sessions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Penn State Altoona, University of South Carolina, California State University-Fresno and the University of New Mexico.

This year, the first session will be offered June 19-23 at Michigan Tech, the University of South Carolina and California State. The second session will be offered July 17-21 at the University of New Mexico, University of Illinois and Penn State.

The program is funded by an FRA grant, which covers program materials, plus lodging and meals for the on-site portion. Students are responsible paying for their travel to their assigned university location. Registration information is available here.

To learn more about Tracks to the Future, read this feature that appeared last year in RailPrime.

Meanwhile, MxV Rail and Dutch Clark Digital Online at Paragon announced they’re partnering for the second consecutive year on Pueblo Works, a career exploration program for students in the Pueblo, Colorado, area.

Dutch Clark Digital Online provides students in grades nine through 12 with multiple options as they work toward their high school diploma. Launched this month, the three-month online program features guest speakers from MxV Rail and other Pueblo-area employers. The speakers represent fields such as construction management, accounting, locomotive engineering, human resources, operations and emergency response.

To kick off the series, MxV Rail President and CEO Kari Gonzales, a Pueblo native, spoke to the students about her upbringing and journey to the position of CEO.

The series will culminate with an in-person field trip to the new MxV Rail headquarters in Pueblo and the newly constructed testing and operations facilities at PuebloPlex at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/24/2023