The Union Pacific Railroad received the Nebraska Community College Association's 2013 "Friend of the College' Award for its support of Mid-Plains Community College during ceremonies conducted during the NCCA's annual meeting Nov. 4-5 in North Platte.
The UPRR has long been a supporter of MPCC and the community college structure. It has been utilizing MPCC's training programs and facilities for more than four decades. Some details of the partnership include the following:
- Since 2008, MPCC has provided craft training to 12,313 UPRR unduplicated employees.
- Union Pacific engineers have been receiving locomotive simulator training on two full-scale UPRR provided computer-driven simulators for more than five 5 years.
- UPRR has been highly active in recruiting students to MPCC. For example, UPRR is:
- Participating in career fairs and having a recruiting presence at MPCC and Central Community Colleges.
- Providing links from the UPRR website to MPCC with a description of the college's railroad program parameters.
- UPRR interviews MPCC graduates for a wide variety of positions. Students completing the programs jointly offered through MPCC will provide the railroad with the skills and knowledge required to become an employee with the UPRR.
- North Platte Community College may have the only fully operational diesel locomotive on its campus in the United States.
- To further support their training needs, UPRR has supplied and installed (at their expense) the following pieces of equipment to MPCC to use in their railroad-specific training, valued in excess of $350,000
Many UPRR upper-level positions require higher levels of post-secondary education. Most recently, UPRR and MPCC partnered to create a corporate training opportunity for their employees.
With MPCC's ability to deliver the required training both on-campus and on-line, and with the railroad offering free tuition for UPRR training and 85% tuition reimbursement for general education courses, admissions into the program continue to grow each year and have already demonstrated wide success in the number of completed certificates, diplomas and degrees by UPRR's workforce on a national level.
"These are but a few examples of the cooperative relationship that MPCC has with the Union Pacific Railroad," said Kent Miller, NCCA executive board president and MPCC governing board member. "On behalf of MPCC and the west-central region of Nebraska, we thank you and present you with a small token of our appreciation as the NCCA's Friend of Community Colleges for 2013. We know that our relationship will be long and prosperous."