Aiming to attract and retain talent, a Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) $8 million grant enables Amtrak to advance its new apprenticeship program. The program launched in March of this year and will be rolled out and implemented nationally, offering a three-year career track for personal and professional advancement.
With training hubs in Washington; New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Wilmington, Del.; and Beech Grove, Ind., the grant will enable the program to train over 600 employees in the next three to five years.
“Amtrak envisions an innovative apprenticeship program that merges the best aspects of training with the latest in railroad technology, with one key objective in mind: The creation of a highly skilled, qualified, and engaged workforce,” said Amtrak President & CEO Stephen Gardner. “Helping us meet our staffing goals well into the future, we would like to thank the FRA for allowing Amtrak to invest in and grow its talented workforce and our union partners for making this all happen.”
Creating a talent pipeline for existing and new employees, the program provides a career track for personal and professional advancement at Amtrak. The grant follows a launch of Amtrak’s Apprenticeship Pilot Program earlier this year, which aimed to create a talent pipeline for existing and new employees. The grant will allow the team to more rapidly expand the program across additional crafts and locations.
Regardless of their specializations, all apprentices must take core courses including safety, environmental awareness, personal protective equipment, and others before meeting their mentors and moving into combined classroom and hands-on instruction, then branching off into craft-specific training. After three years of training, students take a final exam and become fully qualified craftspeople in their field.