Thursday, June 27, 2013

Amtrak commits to hiring more veterans

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman announced June 26, 2013, that the railroad is setting a goal of 25% of new-hires to be veterans by 2015. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), and Director of Administration and Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense Michael L. Rhodes joined Boardman at a ceremony to announce the hiring initiative and unveil a locomotive to honor veterans.

“The leadership, reliability and high-tech skills veterans bring to the job are a great resource to the operation of America’s Railroad,” said Boardman, a Vietnam veteran. “I’m honored and proud to add more of our country’s service men and women to the Amtrak team.”

To meet this goal, Amtrak is partnering with recruiting groups that focus on veteran hiring, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring our Heroes, the Wounded Warrior Project, RecruitMilitary and Army PaYS. In addition, the Amtrak Human Capital department is participating in more than 30 military job fairs across the country. To meet the demand of employee vacancies due to retirement and new projects, Amtrak expects to hire more than 3,000 employees over the next year. In fiscal year 2012, more than 14% of new hires were veterans.

Amtrak Vietnam Vets No 42To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and honor those that have served, Amtrak painted a GE P42 Genesis locomotive red, white and blue with a specially designed “America’s Railroad Salutes Our Veterans” logo and 50 stars around the bottom to honor the anniversary. Locomotive 42, in celebration of Amtrak’s 42nd year of service, was painted as part of a regularly scheduled upgrade at Amtrak’s Beech Grove (Indiana) maintenance facility and will be used to haul trains in revenue service throughout the railroad’s national system.

“The themed locomotive is part of Amtrak’s commitment to The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, the country’s official program to honor a specific group of veterans who saw the nation through one of the most challenging missions ever faced—the Vietnam War,” Amtrak said. “Directed by Congress, the Commemoration is veteran-focused, hometown-centric, and currently includes more than 4,600 commemorative partners who will be hosting events throughout the country.”

“Amtrak has a long and proud tradition of providing outstanding opportunities to veterans, as well as to active military members and their families,” said Director Rhodes. “Becoming a Commemorative Partner with the Vietnam War Commemoration is just another example of this commitment.”

“If you want to help a vet, hire a vet,” Sen. Manchin said. “Thankfully, companies like Amtrak are doing their part in the fight to reduce our veterans’ unemployment rate. It is my hope that other smart businesses will follow Amtrak’s lead. I am proud that Amtrak joins our list of supporters in the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, and is putting their money where their mouth is to reduce the stubbornly high unemployment rate facing our veterans.”

“As a member of the Veteran Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Veterans Jobs Caucus, I am proud to support Amtrak’s new hiring initiative,” said Rep. Denham. “Amtrak has always been a leading employer of our nation’s veterans and I can think of no better partner to help answer the challenge presented by veteran unemployment and no better symbol than this new locomotive.”

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), offered the following: “These are the type of well paying jobs that the men and women of this country deserve when they return from the battlefield. I wholeheartedly commend Amtrak for their patriotism and for helping those who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom.”

“Amtrak has a long history of providing career opportunities to veterans and active military members, and values the high-tech and innovative skills that are often transferable to positions in engineering, mechanical and customer service, among others,” said Amtrak Chief of Human Capital Barry Melnkovic. “Our goal is to develop, acquire, and retain talent that will make this company even better, and employees with military experience help us do that. Veterans bring a unique skill set to the job and are a great fit for our positions. Amtrak, America’s Railroad, is in service to American veterans.”