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Union Pacific Challenged in Filling Electrician Positions

Union Pacific casts wide net for skilled crafts.

The Union Pacific Railroad is the largest railroad network in the United States. The Hinkle Locomotive Service and Repair Facility located near Hermiston is strategically located on the busy Pacific Northwest corridor, and is one of ten system facilities in the Union Pacific network.

The 100,000-square-foot repair facility is comprised of several buildings, with offices, a warehouse, a parts-storage area, locker rooms, mechanical systems, an automated locomotive wash area, and four run-through tracks for repairing 12 locomotives at one time. There are two 340-foot service tracks outside the building, capable of handling ten locomotives at a time, five on each track. The service track fuels and readies nearly 90 locomotives a day.

In addition to scheduled maintenance, this facility handles running repairs; including change outs of power assemblies, traction motors, alternators, air compressors, turbos, engine-blowers and electrical components. The facility is designed to serve the locomotive service and repair needs of Union Pacific well into the future.

But in order to do that, the facility is always in search of skilled craft people to maintain and service the company's fleet of locomotives. That's where Recruitment Manager Derek Tompoles earns his keep.

"We're faced with a couple of challenges. First, when you look at the labor force, there is a lack of skilled labor in general. In this area, we are faced with multiple challenges. One is that it is a remote location. The population that we can pull from is pretty spread out. We have to cast a pretty wide net to attract candidates to apply here in Hermiston. We go as far as Pasco, Tri-Cities, into Walla Walla and that area. You're looking at a remote location, with a lack of skiled labor that are available to us. So we have to get out and actively seek out these people to let them know of the opportunities we have here.

Lately, the WorkSource Center in Hermiston has been able to help Derek get the word out. He contacted Diana Hall with WorkSource and scheduled recruitment information sessions to help uncover qualified candidates for five currently-open diesel electrician positions at the Hinckley facility.

"Diana was great," Derek said. "She helped us schedule recruitment sessions, took care of our facility needs, helped to distribute our promotional materials, and she was open to new ideas."

Diana also made sure to post the listing for the diesel electricians on iMatchSkills, WorkSource's online job matching tool, and to run a local search for qualified candidates so they could be notified.

As Derek reaches out to potential candidates, he also employs a military-specific recruitment plan that includes involvement at military transition offices, military education offices, reserve units, military panels, National Guard units, career fairs, information sessions, employer panels, résumé review assistance and serving on local military committees and boards. In fact, G.I. Jobs has named Union Pacific Railroad one of America's top military-friendly employers for 2010. Ranked No. 12, it is the seventh time in eight years the nation's premier career guide for military job seekers has named Union Pacific to its list. More than 10,000 Union Pacific employees are veterans.

Union Pacific offers a wide range of job opportunities that lend themselves to employees with military backgrounds including train crew, diesel mechanics, diesel electricians, assistant signal workers and track laborers. The company offers leadership opportunities through its Operations Management Training Program.

Derek also works closely with the veterans representatives located in most WorkSource offices.

More than 235 employees at the Hinkle locomotive service and repair facility support the 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, 365-a-year operation.

If you think you have what it takes to work at Union Pacific, learn more at www.UnionPacific.jobs

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