Looking for a job? You could be working on the railroad. Omaha-based Union Pacific plans to hire three-thousand employees this year, and spokeswoman Barb Schaefer says many will come from Iowa and Nebraska. Schaefer says there are openings for locomotive engineers, conductors, brakemen and the workers in rail yards who “put trains together and take them apart.” People have retired and the new hires will replace them and help with the new business that’s grown as the economy improves. She says Iowa and Nebraska in particular have been improving, and in Iowa the agricultural business, corn and soybeans moving on the railroad comprise a strong business. The track across Nebraska is the “backbone of our entire rail system” and moves coal and all kinds of other commodities, as she says the railroad business has to answer a strengthening economy and replace people who’ve retired. No previous experience is required, and the railroad will train newly-hired workers. There’s a 14-week training program that covers everything from the railroad’s background to a focus on teaching people to do the job completely and safely. Applicants should be willing to work under unpredictable schedules, in a variety of locations along the miles of railroad line, out in all kinds of weather, and be able to do some heavy lifting. All applications are being taken over the website, www.up.com; click on “Jobs at U-P.” “Hiring sessions” will be scheduled in places like Des Moines and North Platte where the jobs will be explained in more detail to applicants who attend. She says they give a reading and a physical-ability test to ensure applicants have the strength and ability to do the work safely. After that comes an interview, job offer, drug and alcohol test and background application. Schaefer says her 23-year career with Union Pacific is proof the railroad’s an equal-opportunity employer.
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