The U.S. Department of Labor is awarding the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), in partnership with Amtrak, an $11 million grant to fund a pre-employment training program that will prepare participants for railroad industry jobs, Amtrak reported on Oct. 6.
The “Railroading 101” program is slated to help workers develop rail-related skills, to improve job opportunities in Delaware, and to build a more diverse railroad workforce, according to Amtrak.
“This grant is an example of the commitment of the Department of Labor to empower workers and job seekers,” Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said. “Amtrak will use these resources as we work with our Delaware partners to better equip workers for railroad careers and grow our service.”
“DelDOT and Amtrak continue to work collaboratively on projects such as the new Claymont Train Station that will open in late 2023, and this grant allows Amtrak to continue to invest in the workforce and ensure Delawareans have the skills needed to fill critical roles locally throughout their organization in the years ahead,” Delaware Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski said.
In June, Amtrak received an $8 million CRISI (Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements) program grant from the Federal Railroad Association (FRA) for a three-year Mechanical Craft Workforce Development Apprenticeship Training Program. That program will provide professional development opportunities for current and future Amtrak employees. A pilot mechanical training program was slated to begin this year; the full training program of additional classes was to be carried out from the end of 2022 to the end of third-quarter 2025. Amtrak is providing a 20% non-federal match.
Amtrak said it has hired more than 2,500 new employees in 2022, and recruitment continues. In August, “America’s Railroad” announced that it had more than 4,000 positions available spanning several disciplines, including project management, finance, technology, onboard services, electrical and customer service. It planned to host 54 hiring events and career fairs to attract new talent, with a concentration in Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Oakland, Philadelphia, Miami and Wilmington, Del.