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Carl Sandburg College readies to boost railroad careers in Galesburg

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A new program promises to create jobs while boosting the Galesburg economy.

Carl Sandburg College is unveiling a railroad training site.

It's going to be a partnership for success.

The rail industry is on a roll these days.

"They've got a lot of trains in the yard, and there's a lot of freight to move," said CSC student Nathan Harden, 22.

That's why the BNSF Galesburg Terminal is thriving.  Nationally, BNSF hired 5,000 people just this year.  Now, there's room to grow.

"To have this type of training in your backyard, these students can come and get a job," said Dr. Terry Murphy-Latta, director of the National Academy of Railroad Sciences (NARS). "It'll change their lives."

Carl Sandburg College is now the second site for NARS.  The college is launching two programs to help fill electrical and mechanical jobs. It's working in tandem with the original center in Overland Park, Kansas.

"It's huge, absolutely huge," said Dr. Lori Sundberg, CSC president.  "It's great for our community because we are actually helping industry."

The program can take students from classes to careers in 16 weeks.  Rail jobs will help to keep the Galesburg economy rolling along.

This partnership is important for the railroad and region.  BNSF covers 32,000 miles of track in 28 states.  That's a lot of territory.  It needs the next generation of technology workers.

"These students should be very well positioned to transition into careers with the railroad and many other industries," said Dave Andersen, a 36-year BNSF employee who helped to inspire the program.

For students like Harden, BNSF represents a family legacy. There's also a chance to see Galesburg grow.

"If you're looking into the program at all, go for it," he concluded.

Registration for the Spring semester begins on November 3.  Space is limited, so sign up early at (309) 345-3500.