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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Grant needed for railroad operations program to restart in fall 2023
Facility staff member Phillip Cypret stands with current department chair Kevin Goehring on Sept. 12, 2022 to talk about the relaunch of City College’s railroad operations program. Photo credit: Ellie Appleby / [email protected]

Due to budget cuts in 2008, City College’s railroad operations program was shuttered. Phillip Cypret, who oversaw the original program and had been the grant coordinator to help get it relaunched, hopes to have a comeback in the fall of next year if a $1 million federal grant is approved. The program will help students learn the skills they need to work in the railroad industry.

Kevin Goehring, the current department chair of the Aircraft Maintenance Technician Program (of which the railroad operations program would be a part of), said that “people are hitting him up daily asking when the program will come back. This program is an inexpensive way to obtain a career.” 

The railroad operation program’s goal has always been to recruit non-traditional students, and they have been successful in doing so, according to Cypret. Students of minority or low to no income are able to obtain a good-paying, entry level job with benefits after only completing their certificate program for nine months. The positions available after completing the course include switchmen, breakmen and assistant conductor, which can lead to an eventual job as a railroad engineer. 

If the program is able to restart, there is also a plan to offer a two-year track for those wanting to get into management.

Cypret says that currently, if a student wants to complete a Federal Railroad Association approved program, they’d have to attend a community college program in Kansas. City College’s program is inexpensive for in-state students and close by.

The railroad industry never sleeps, and they desperately need workers to keep their operations running smoothly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are an average of 7,500 openings for railroad workers each year.

The three pieces to making the City College program a success are qualified teachers, a lab that can access the railroad, and funding. Los Rios is willing to pay for teachers and the Altamont Corridor Express facility in Stockton has agreed to open the doors to its lab and training facility. All that is left is getting the necessary funding for the equipment and qualified staff. 

If a grant is approved, then the program will hopefully restart in the 2023 fall semester. If not, Cypret, will continue to advocate to bring this program back, stating, “all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and reapply again for the 2024 fall semester.”

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About the Contributor
Ellie Appleby
Ellie Appleby, Assistant Photo Editor
Ellie grew up around photography in upstate New York. Both her father and grandfather were photographers themselves. Her first experience taking a photo was in a vegetable garden taking a portrait of them arm-in-arm together.
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