Amtrak is honoring veterans.
Photo credit: Amtrak
Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman is announcing that America's railroad is setting a goal of 25 percent of new hires to be veterans by 2015.
Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Jeff Denham and Michael L. Rhodes with the Office of the Secretary of Defense will join him at a ceremony to announce this hiring initiative and unveil a locomotive to honor veterans.
"The leadership, reliability and high-tech skills veterans bring to the job are a great resource to the operation of America's Railroad," said Boardman, a Vietnam veteran. "I'm honored and proud to add more of our country's service men and women to the Amtrak team."
To meet this goal, Amtrak is partnering with recruiting groups that focus on veteran hiring, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring our Heroes, the Wounded Warrior Project, RecruitMilitary and Army PaYS.
In addition, the Amtrak Human Capital department is participating in more than 30 military job fairs across the country (see upcoming event list attached). To meet the demand of employee vacancies due to retirement and new projects, America's Railroad expects to hire more than 3,000 employees over the next year. In fiscal year 2012, more than 14 percent of new hires were veterans.
"As I've always said, if you want to help a vet, hire a vet. Thankfully, companies like Amtrak are doing their part in the fight to reduce our veterans' unemployment rate. It is my hope that other smart businesses will follow Amtrak's lead," Sen. Manchin said. "I am proud that Amtrak joins our list of supporters in the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, and is putting their money where their mouth is to reduce the stubbornly high unemployment rate facing our veterans."
"As a member of the Veteran Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Veterans Jobs Caucus, I am proud to support Amtrak's new hiring initiative. Amtrak has always been a leading employer of our nation's veterans and I can think of no better partner to help answer the challenge presented by veteran unemployment and no better symbol than this new locomotive," said Rep. Denham.
Rep. Corrine Brown, who is unable to attend today's ceremony, offered the following: "These are the type of well paying jobs that the men and women of this country deserve when they return from the battlefield. I wholeheartedly commend Amtrak for their patriotism and for helping those who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom."
Amtrak has a long history of providing career opportunities to veterans and active military members, and values the high-tech and innovative skills that are often transferable to positions in engineering, mechanical and customer service, among others.
"Our goal is to develop, acquire and retain talent that will make this company even better, and employees with military experience help us do that," said Amtrak Chief of Human Capital Barry Melnkovic. "Veterans bring a unique skill set to the job and are a great fit for our positions. Amtrak, America's Railroad, is in service to American veterans."
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and honor those that have served, Amtrak painted a locomotive red, white and blue with a specially designed "America's Railroad Salutes Our Veterans" logo and 50 stars around the bottom to honor the anniversary. Locomotive 42, in celebration of Amtrak's 42nd year of service, was painted as part of a regularly scheduled upgrade at the Amtrak Beech Grove Indiana maintenance facility and will be used to pull trains in revenue service on routes throughout the country.
The themed locomotive is part of Amtrak's commitment to The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, the country's official program to honor a specific group of veterans who saw the nation through one of the most challenging missions ever faced - the Vietnam War. Directed by Congress, the Commemoration is veteran-focused, hometown-centric and currently includes more than 4,600 commemorative partners who will be hosting events throughout the country.
"Amtrak has a long and proud tradition of providing outstanding opportunities to veterans, as well as, to active military members and their families. Becoming a Commemorative Partner with the Vietnam War Commemoration is just another example of this commitment," said Michael L. Rhodes, director of administration and management for the Office of Secretary of Defense.
Active duty U.S. military personnel, their spouses and their dependents are eligible for a 10 percent discount off most Amtrak rail fares. In addition, Amtrak offers other discounts that can be found at Amtrak.com.