Gateway Community College (GCC) will offer a new associate degree in railroad engineering technology (RET) this spring, the first program of its kind at an institution of higher education in the Northeast.
The RET degree was approved Oct. 20 with a two-year license by the state Board of Governors for Higher Education. Work on the RET Program began more than a year ago after officials from Metro-North Commuter Railroad approached GCC in an effort to enhance the education of current Metro-North employees who are eligible for tuition assistance through the employee union.
As discussions continued, Metro-North indicated it also needed a training program to prepare new employees to fill anticipated vacancies within the railroad industry, due in part due to the number of employees who will be eligible for retirement within the next several years, said Paul Silberquit, director of GCC’s Engineering and Applied Technologies Division. The result was GCC’s new associate degree.
“This new degree program is a wonderful example of how Gateway can be an invaluable partner for workforce development in the region,” said GCC President Dr. Dorsey L. Kendrick. “It not only benefits students and Metro-North, but also the economies of greater New Haven and Connecticut, which rely heavily on reliable rail service.”
Students who enroll in the RET degree program would get to choose from two “tracks” or specialties — electromechanical or signaling and communications. Students choosing the electromechanical track would learn the necessary skills to be employed in the repair and maintenance of rail cars. Students opting for the signaling and communications track would learn the necessary skills to be employed in the repair and maintenance of railroad signaling and communications systems.
GCC offers more than 85 associate degree and certificate programs and serves more than 11,000 credit and non-credit students each year. GCC is currently located on two campuses — at 60 Sargent Drive on Long Wharf in New Haven and at 88 Bassett Road in North Haven. Work began in the fall of 2009 on a new state-of-the art campus in downtown New Haven, which is slated to open in 2012 and will be the state’s first public building gold-certified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
GCC serves students in 24 towns and cities in the greater New Haven area, including: Ansonia, Bethany, Branford, Bridgeport, Cheshire, Clinton, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middletown, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Seymour, Shelton, Stratford, Wallingford, West Haven and Woodbridge. For more information, visit www.gwcc.commnet.edu.