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For Immediate Release

Rail Industry Joins Forces to Target Hiring 5000 Veterans in 2012

Freight and Passenger Railroads, Rail Supply Companies Team with White House Joining Forces Initiative

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 10, 2012 – In collaboration with various sectors of the rail industry, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) today announced that the nation’s major freight, intercity passenger, commuter railroads and rail supply companies expect to hire more than 5000 veterans in 2012. The rail industry’s commitment is part of the White House Joining Forces initiative, a nation-wide effort to recognize, honor and support America’s veterans and military families.

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,” Cooper said.

“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,” Hamberger said.

“Veterans are unequaled examples of commitment, reliability and leadership. That combination makes them ideal candidates for railroad employment, and the short line industry is proud to be a part of this veteran recruitment program,” said American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) President, and retired Army Lt. General Richard F. Timmons.

“The nation’s commuter railroads are honored to join forces and hire veterans, thus benefitting from their valued leadership, technical and teamwork skills,” said Michael P. Melaniphy, President and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Key commitments from the various rail industry sectors, included:

  • Freight Railroads: the nation’s freight railroads, including the country’s major Class I freight and shortline railroads represented by AAR and ASLRRA, have targeted hiring at least 4700 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. These companies are responsible for supplying the materials, equipment and services that make the U.S. railroad industry the envy of the world, including rail components, cars and locomotives and cutting edge technology used to make rail the safest, most reliable and affordable way to move both people and goods.

  • The rail industry has a relationship with America’s military that goes back nearly 200 years and continues to remain strong with 25 percent of the industry’s current workforce having military service. Today, railroads and rail-supply companies partner with agencies and organizations including the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the Wounded Warrior Project – and now the White House – to help talented veterans connect with private sector employment opportunities in the rail industry. To learn about how railroads support our nation’s military and to find career opportunities in the rail industry, visit


    For more information contact: Holly Arthur,, 202-639-2344.

    About AAR: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world's leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Learn more at Follow us on Twitter: AAR_FreightRail or Facebook: