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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Railroad academy, AAR promote industry's job potential at national workforce association forum


Because the U.S. railroad industry will need to hire more than 80,000 people by 2011, National Academy of Railroad Sciences (NARS) and Association of American Railroads (AAR) representatives are trying to get the word out about the industry's career potential. Last week, they relied on their promotional skills to pique the interest of National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) members, who plan and oversee state and local workforce development and job training programs.

At a NAWB forum in Washington, D.C., NARS and AAR representatives manned a booth to provide information on the types of railroad jobs available, including conductors, welders, locomotive and car mechanics, electricians, yardmasters and trainmasters. NARS officials also distributed information on the Fast Track program to some of the more than 2,000 attendees. The program offers six- and eight-week training sessions on various crafts, and guarantees a student's resume will be sent to 85 railroads.

"People were very excited about the opportunity to offer these programs to displaced workers," said Jeffrey Abbott, BNSF Railway Co. director of training services at NARS, in a prepared statement. "Many were surprised by the number of jobs and how quickly they could have people trained through NARS."

AAR and NARS officials plan to send posters and training information to contacts made at the forum, and help other NAWB members write grants to support displaced worker training.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/8/2005