Amtrak lays down track for future rail workers with scholarship program – HR Dive

Amtrak on Jan. 12 announced it will offer 11 scholarships to full-time undergraduate and graduate students interested in the railroad. 

The Amtrak Scholarship Program is designed to “advance the future of rail,” according to a news release. The railroad industry as a whole is looking for ways to attract and retain young workers in order to maintain service, those at a September North East Association of Rail Shippers conference said.

“As we continue to revolutionize the Amtrak experience, hiring to address significant demand is essential,” Amtrak Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer Qiana Spain said in a news release. “Amtrak is creating a talent pipeline to invest in the future and address this new era of rail.”

The scholarship program is one part of a larger effort to attract students to careers in rail. The company also offers paid internships and co-ops for undergraduate and graduate students and apprentice programs. Amtrak said it hopes 50% of its interns take on full-time roles with the company. 

Scholarships are available to high school students who identify as Hispanic/Latinx, African American or Asian American/Pacific Islander ($5,000); women in STEM ($3,000); students interested in rail engineering ($3,000); IT students ($3,000); students in non-technical fields like business, finance, marketing or supply chain ($3,000); and children, spouses, civil union partners or domestic partners of Amtrak employees, retirees or furloughed employees ($5,000), the company said. 

Scholarships will assist with tuition, fees, books and equipment, and students are permitted to submit more than one application. The deadline is Jan. 31. 

Amtrak debuted an apprenticeship program in March 2022, aided by an $8-million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration. New and existing employees are eligible for the three-year apprenticeships. 

Amtrak also offers hiring bonuses and relocation packages to help the rail company fill critical positions. As of August, Amtrak had more than 4,000 open positions in project management, finance, technology, onboard services, electrical and customer service. The starting pay for onboard service crafts is $21 per hour, and journeyman electricians start at $34.07 per hour.