VANCOUVER, Wash. — The International Air and Hospitality Academy has added a new program called the Northwest Railroad Institute. The new degree program will be the fourth such program offered in the U.S.
Students taking the six-month program will be provided with training for freight railroad careers including freight conductors, conductor trainees, brakemen, switchmen and yardmen. Training for engineers and passenger conductors is not yet available.
The degree will consist of nine units including yard switching operations, air brakes and train handling rules and hazardous materials practices and handling.
The institute reckons that nearly 20 to 25 percent of the rail workforce will be eligible for retirement within the next couple of years and entry-level jobs will become available.
“A diploma from the Northwest Railroad Institute soon will be a ticket for landing an entry-level job in the railroad industry,” said Terry Keene. Keene is a member of the school’s advisory committee and worked for BNSF Railway for 39 years and was a member of UTU Local 1977.
To start the academy will only be accepting 50 students to the program. Students must have a high school diploma or GED to apply and be at least 18 years of age. The school will start to accept applications for the program beginning June 15 and classes are set to start July 15.
Similar programs are offered at two locations of Modoc Railroad Academy near Sacramento, Calif. and Marion, Ill., and at the National Academy of Railroad Sciences at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.