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Amtrak California's San Joaquin train prepares to depart from Bakersfield, CA.
The rail industry is committing to hire more than 5,000 veterans in 2012, the Department of Transportation and First Lady Michelle Obama's military hiring initiative announced Tuesday. The jobs, which will be in both freight and passenger rail as well as at companies that supply materials and equipment, are possible because the rail industry is growing and because 23 percent of its current workforce will be eligible to retire by 2015.

Rail was a natural fit for the Obama administration's efforts to promote hiring of veterans, a group that currently makes up 25 percent of the industry's workforce. A White House press release notes that "Servicemen and women gain experience working with heavy machinery, managing safety operations, conducting their work in challenging conditions, promoting teamwork and being adaptable."

"Railroads offer people the chance to have true life-long careers in well-paying jobs," according to Association of American Railroads President Ed Hamberger. Getting people from a population that has suffered from high unemployment into such jobs, and in a relatively energy-efficient transportation industry at that, is a solid win.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:04 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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