CN Railway marks grand opening of Homewood's state-of-the-art training facility
It is official, the Canadian National (CN) Railway opened its new job training Center in Homewood, Illinois. The job training facility is the first of its kind for Canadian National (CN) in the United States, and will be used to provide railroad training for all new employees, union and management, reported the SouthtownStar in today's edition.
Officials estimate that the new CN Railway training center will have up to 250 employees per week, who will be instructed at the facility at any given time. The training will be for hands-on training for all key railway jobs. Currently, CN has 23,721 employees worldwide and in Illinois employs 1,700 employees.
The 55,000-square-foot, $25 million dollar facility on the Southland site, will complement a 100,000-square-foot training site in Winnipeg, Canada. CN completed its new training center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where up to 350 students from across Canada will train every week.
New CN hires and existing employees will be sent to the Homewood location to be trained to be locomotive mechanics, track supervisors, signal maintainers, car mechanics, electricians, heavy duty mechanics, rail traffic controllers, locomotive engineers and conductors. Outdoor labs with dedicated rolling stock and other equipment for field training will also be a key focus.
Claude Mongeau, CN president and chief executive officer, said: "The opening of this state-of-the-art training center is a cornerstone in CN's workforce renewal, which this year will see the hiring of more than 3,500 employees across our North American network.
"Our training campus in Homewood, adjacent to CN's Woodcrest mechanical shop, will enhance our railroader training programs, help us instill a strong safety culture amongst our new hires, and reinforce it across all current employees who are learning new skills or upgrading existing ones.
"The new U.S. training center is located in our busy Chicago Terminal and at the center of CN's U.S. operations. TheChicago area is the largest freight hub in North America and suburban Homewood is home to CN's U.S. headquarters."
CN Railway is one of the largest railroads in North America, spanning Canada and mid-America. U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) attended the grand opening and delivered remarks. Rep. Kelly is excited about the facility, having been quoted as saying last year at the groundbreaking ceremony, "The Canadian National has been an investor in the community, and their employees live in this area. That’s what we need here is jobs, jobs, jobs."
Rep. Kelly said in her address to the packed audience, "CN and the Illinois Central Railroad have been a part of the Southland for more than a century. CN rail lines stretch the length of the 2nd Congressional District, from the south side of Chicago to Kankakee—and beyond. Over the decades, this railroad has continually invested in Homewood, and provided thousands of families across southern Cook County with stable, good-paying jobs."
Kelly heaped high praise on the company for its investments in the people of the Illinois' 2nd Congressional district. "Generations have spent careers working at CN and Illinois Central facilities, like the Woodcrest mechanical shops and the rail yard that borders it. For the last 10 years, hundreds more have come to work here at CN’s Homewood corporate headquarters. Your strong presence in the South Suburbs also enhances the 2nd Congressional District’s standing as the 'Crossroads of America.' You have always been an important part of this community."
Kelly added, "CN is also the reason why Homewood’s Railway Park has become one of the nation’s top train-spotting locations. From what I’ve read, the Village is becoming a big tourist attraction for railway fans everywhere."
Christopher Hart, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said that the agency is pleased with the $25 million dollar investment to build the new training center.
CN officials said the site will boast 14 classrooms, two learning labs and a 10-acre field training facility. The training programs range anywhere from three to 24 weeks and will allow CN employees to earn proper certification.
For example, the conductor training program qualifies new hires to be conductors. The program requires employees to spend five weeks in the classroom and two weeks of intense field training to earn student conductor status. To earn conductor status, the students have to undergo an additional 45 to 60 structured, qualifying train trips.
CN is a true backbone of the economy, transporting approximately C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors, ranging from resource products to manufactured products to consumer goods, across a rail network spanning Canada and mid-America, from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to the Gulf of Mexico. CN – Canadian National Railway Company, along with its operating railway subsidiaries -- serves the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., Green Bay, Wis., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America.
Canadian National Training Center is located at 17650 South Ashland Ave. (175th and Ashland Ave.), in Homewood, Illinois. For careers with CN, visit their Career Page athttp://www.cn.ca/en/careers.