Rail car company expansion plan to include Hearne ISD students

HEARNE, Tex. (KBTX) – Experts say across the nation there is a major shortage of welders. That's why a Hearne rail car leasing company hopes they can get high school students interested early on.

Tuesday, General American Transportation Corporation, also known as GATX presented to the Hearne school board its $21 million dollar expansion plan that includes students still in school.

The major maintenance facility works on rail cars that are leased all around the world. The company plans to grow over the next 10 years.

"We're looking at adding over 60 employees,” said Chris Zeig, GATX service center manager.

GATX says it wants to expand its track system, inspection areas and locker rooms but they also want to stop outsourcing a bulk of their labor.

"We want to create a pipeline of qualified job candidates,” said Zeig. “That's really one of the issues that were having right now is where are we going to find sixty employees that can meet our qualifications."

The company says they want to work with the school district to begin providing specific training and a possible apprenticeship program.

"If that's their goal to work at GATX we want to be able to give them what they need to be successful," said Zeig.

GATX is also in talks with Blinn College to discuss how it can work together to train welders with the companies unique skills.

The company is also asking the city of Hearne and the county to consider granting a ten year tax abatement on the new capital an expansion would bring.