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Local rail projects hiring jobless

By: Gabriel Roxas Email
By: Gabriel Roxas Email

Hundreds of jobs are coming to central Kentucky. The pay is $25 to $35 an hour, and the first five hundred people in line in Lexington on Saturday will get applications, but there's a catch -- to apply, you must be unemployed.

Jobs doing everything from operating railroad equipment to installing new track will be up for grabs in a dual effort to improve infrastructure and put people back to work at the same time.

An economic recovery could be coming via train if a local rail company is successful. R.J. Corman is spending more than $20 million on short line rail projects, most of that coming from a federal grant from the Department of Transportation to offer shovel ready jobs to the unemployed. Lexington construction worker Jarrod Wynn says the plan comes at just the right time. "Nobody's building like they have been in years past, so I'm sure there's hundreds of people without work right now," Wynn said.

The company's vice president says they're looking for everyone from bridge painters to truck drivers to track laborers. Noel Rush expects the jobs that are directly created by the projects to be only the beginning. "Then there are the multiplier effects of the jobs that are created," Rush said, "For instance, when we say that we're going to add approximately 177,000 ties, that creates about 175 new jobs at saw mills, so it has a cascading effect."

The jobs involve 5 different short line rail projects throughout the region. The first of which could begin as early as April.

The job fair is Saturday from 11 am to 2 pm at the Lexington yard on 133 Buchanan Street. Jobs available could last anywhere from four months to more than a year depending on the project. Company leaders tell 27 Newsfirst they do plan to permanently hire some of the project workers.


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