Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Michigan Tech unveils CN donation for Education Center

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On the same day CN announced plans for a new chief executive officer, the Class I railroad also announced it would offer $250,000 to Michigan Technological University's Rail Transportation Program to create the CN Rail Transportation Education Center (CN RTEC).

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CN RTEC will open in fall 2009 and function as a central location for student, faculty, and industry collaboration, MTU said in a statement. It will also provide education and research facilities for the Rail Transportation Program, including computer workstations with rail applications, a reference library, and online learning technologies.

"CN's decision to support the CN Rail Transportation Education Center is an integral part of the development of this program and has helped ensure its future success. It is a pleasure to be able to share with CN the excitement we have for the Rail Transportation Program," said Michigan Tech President Glenn D. Mroz.

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Jim Vena, CN's senior vice president, Southern Region, said: "We are very pleased that our donation will help today's youth become tomorrow's railroaders--the people who will shape the future success of our company and the North American economy. Few universities in the United States can produce students with such high-caliber education, specifically in railroad transportation, as Michigan Tech does. Michigan Tech engineering graduates arrive at CN well equipped to start working for the railroad."

The 18-month old Rail Transportation Program (RTP), directed by Pasi Lautala, is designed to attract university students to rail industry careers.

Michigan Tech's RTP attracts students from a wide range of degree programs and includes courses about rail transportation and engineering, as well as urban rail transit. The program currently offers three rail-related courses. Through its Summer in Finland program, it is the first rail transportation education program to integrate a strong international study component into a multi-disciplinary thrust in rail education.

The RTP has begun an initiative to establish a multi-disciplinary certificate in rail transportation and engineering. The university is also working with its industry partners to expand opportunities for student and faculty participation in real-world rail development through sponsored projects and research.