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Small Railroads Focus on Hiring More Veterans

Amtrak train in field.

Veterans looking to transition into the private workforce received support last month from the railroad industry.

Anacostia Rail Holdings President Peter Gilbertson and Pacific Harbor Line President Otis Cliatt II joined the Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Federal Railroad Administration and select railroad industry officials at the Pentagon on Nov. 12, in the first joint roundtable meeting to increase hiring of military veterans by the railroad industry.

The Roundtable is intended to encourage use of the federal government's hiring website and highlighted the new Department of Defense SkillBridge Program. This program allows service members to participate in job and employment training--including apprenticeships and internships--up to six months before completing their service obligation.

"This was an exceptional opportunity, spearheaded by the FRA, to bring military, federal agencies and the railroad industry together for one cause: to take care of America's heroes--America's Service members," Cliatt, who also serves as American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association Chairman of the Veterans Recruitment Committee, said in a statement. 

"I took personal pleasure bridging the gap between active duty military personnel and the hiring railroad companies in attendance. Military representatives expressed appreciation of the short-line industry's information for veterans. This information includes a brochure, which also highlights interviews with current railroad employees who are veterans, and a website for additional information."

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness) Frank DiGiovanni, FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo, and FRA Executive Director Stacy Cummings headed the event as roundtable chairs.

"It was a privilege to attend the meeting," Gilbertson said. "The rail industry in general and Anacostia in particular have shown leadership in hiring veterans. I thank Otis Cliatt for being an industry leader on this issue."

About 25 percent of Pacific Harbor Line's 150 employees are veterans or active duty guardsmen or reservists.

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