The Joining Forces announcement was made during a press event where AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger joined U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and White House Joining Forces Executive Director Captain Bradley Cooper to discuss how the nation's rail industry stands ready to provide excellent career opportunities for men and women transitioning from military service.
"The commitment from AAR and companies in the railway industry to veteran hiring is exactly the type of effort we hoped to see when the First Lady and Dr. Biden launched Joining Forces last year, companies stepping up to hire our nation's veterans. The railway industry clearly recognizes that hiring veterans is good for their companies' bottom line and we are appreciative of their efforts to serve veterans and well as they have served this country," said White House Joining Forces Executive Director Captain Bradley Cooper.
"We're proud to be able to offer military men and women with not only jobs, but true potential careers in jobs that are a great fit with the skills they've acquired while serving our country," said AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger.
Key commitments from the various rail industry sectors, included:
• Freight railroads: the nation's freight railroads, including the country's major Class 1 freight and shortline railroads represented by AAR and ASLRRA, have targeted hiring at least 4,700 veterans in 2012. This year's aggressive hiring target is in line with the industry's sizable hiring trend kicked off in 2011 in the face of a significant wave of retirements. Both major and shortline railroads anticipate this trend to continue in the coming years, in light of projected retirements and as rail traffic continues to return.
• Passenger railroads: the nation's passenger railroads, including Amtrak and commuter railroads represented by AAR and APTA, have targeted hiring approximately 500 veterans in 2012, based on the significant need to fill positions being made vacant through retirements, as well as some growth and typical attrition. This also represents a hiring target of between 12 and 14 percent of new hires going forward.
• Rail supply companies: Dozens of the nation's rail supply and services companies, also represented by AAR, have committed to hire at least 200 veterans in 2012.