Washburn Tech Celebrates New Program

August 26, 2015

Topeka, Kan. – Washburn Tech along with corporate partner BNSF Railway plan to officially open the Locomotive Diesel Technology lab at 9 a.m. on Monday, August 31. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and brief reception is scheduled for Building C on the Washburn Tech campus at 5724 SW Huntoon St. BNSF leadership, Gov. Sam Brownback and Rep. Lynn Jenkins are scheduled to attend.

 Launched in Spring 2015, the Locomotive Diesel Technology program prepares students for careers in the railroad industry by utilizing curriculum from the National Academy of Railroad Sciences (NARS), an educational relationship between BNSF and Johnson County Community College. The program covers a range of critical skills needed in a locomotive shop, including inspecting, maintaining and repairing locomotives. Students receive hands-on training by disassembling and reassembling locomotive components that BNSF donated.

Washburn Tech also received funding from the state, including a Kansas Department of Commerce Jobs and Innovative Industry Skills Training grant of $152,583 and a $70,000 Innovative Technology grant from the Kansas Board of Regents.

“We think this program will appeal to a variety of candidates,” said Bret Irvin, BNSF’s assistant vice president, Human Resources, Fort Worth. “For example, many military veterans have a diesel mechanic background, but they have never worked on locomotives. This program will allow them to bridge their skills to a possible career with BNSF.”

“Through this partnership with BNSF, we are pleased to prepare a highly skilled workforce that keeps the country moving,” said Clark Coco, dean, Washburn Tech. “We look forward to developing additional training in the near future that will assist the railway industry and the economy.” 

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