Metro-North Railroad Honored for Corporate Citizenship

Helped Develop College Curriculum in Rail Engineering Technology

MTA Metro-North Railroad recently was honored by the Gateway Community College Foundation for outstanding corporate citizenship in the greater New Haven community for its development of the Rail Engineering Technology (RET) Degree program.

This program represents the culmination of a two-year collaboration of the college with several railroad departments including Maintenance of Equipment, Communications & Signal, Training and Labor Relations.

"Metro-North, and the rail industry as a whole, is facing an acute shortage of skilled electrical workers," said Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut. "There is a particular need for qualified trainees in the field of railroad signal systems, which is a highly specialized skill only taught on-the-job."

So far this year, Metro-North has hired 20 electricians and 20 signal trainees. Metro-North electricians earn among the highest wages of all skilled crafts.

To address this need, Metro-North sought a partner in higher education to develop a program to provide qualified applicants in the field of electronics. In conjunction with the college's Engineering Department, the group developed a rail-specific electronics training program for students interested in pursuing careers in the rail industry. Upon graduation, RET students will be prepared to compete for jobs at Metro-North and all the operating agencies of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including the Long Island Rail Road and New York City Subways.

The program was accredited on October 20, 2010 by the Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education. Students can earn credits at all five local community colleges in Connecticut and then transfer to Gateway to complete their Associate's Degree in Rail Engineering Technology.

The Gateway Community College Foundation, Inc. was formed to assist the college in expanding its services to students and enhancing academic instruction. The Foundation also helps the college to invest in Connecticut's future by increasing its resources and underwriting programs in response to the community's needs.

The Foundation also gives Financial Aid to qualified high school graduates from lower income families so that they have the opportunity to attend college free of charge.

Metro-North officials accepted the award Oct. 27 at a ceremony held at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, Connecticut.