Over the past four years, the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, Inc. (NRC), has made financial contributions to a variety of university rail education and training programs in an effort to support up-and-coming professionals seeking careers in the rail industry and to help develop a well-qualified workforce for its member companies.
In 2014, the NRC has made contributions to the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Construction and Operations Management Program, the Penn State Altoona Rail Transportation Engineering Program and the Michigan State University Certificate Course in Railway Management.
The SDSU Construction and Operations Management Program prepares graduates to manage construction projects in the commercial, residential and heavy-highway-utilities sectors. The program prepares students for topics in business management, technology applications, supervision and project management. The NRC’s contribution to this specific program was a result of the high-demand for well-prepared construction and project managers in the rail industry. SDSU selected their top two students to receive complimentary registrations to the 2014 NRC Conference in Palm Desert, Calif. The students had an opportunity to network with representatives from NRC member companies and participate in the general sessions, exhibition hall and seminars to gain further insight into a career in the rail contracting industry.
The Penn State Altoona Rail Transportation Engineering Program has a curriculum based in civil engineering with added courses related to transportation and rail. The program offers training in business fundamentals to enable students to see how railroads connect with society at large and how and why railroads are useful. The students take courses in the history and regulatory structure of railroads, accounting and project management. Woven into these courses will be units on labor relations, the relationship between railroads and the federal, state and local governments and an introduction to the real estate issues affecting railroads.
Michigan State University’s Certificate Course in Railway Management offers a course for railroad employees to grow professionally and increase their management capabilities. The course was developed and evaluated by the Railway Management Program Staff, working closely with Class 1 and Class 2 railroad education and training directors, as well as the Association of American Railroads, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association and Federal Railroad Administration decision makers and other transportation industry leaders.
The NRC has also made financial contributions to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Railroad Engineering Program, the Michigan Technological University Rail Transportation Program and the University of Tennessee Knoxville Center for Transportation Research.