Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway Rolls In Holiday Cheer With Big Donation To International Trade Education Programs (ITEP)

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"Sometimes it takes a train to help move a mountain of hope for the less fortunate and economically disadvantage and BNSF understands the value of our programs," said Carol Rowen, ITEP CEO

A trainload of holiday cheer has just arrived to help keep International Trade Education Programs (ITEP) on track next year thanks to Burlington-Northern Sante Fe Railway (BNSF). The railway, which operates one of the largest railroad networks in North America, plans to present a check for $50,000 this Friday (Dec. 12, 2008) to ITEP for programs at Barstow High school over the next three years.

"Sometimes it take a train to help move a mountain of hope for the less fortunate and economically disadvantage and BNSF understands the value of our programs," said Chief Executive Officer Carol Rowen, ITEP. "BNSF was one of the first, and has been a long-time supporter of our programs that create opportunities in goods movement, transportation and logistics. This is a holiday blessing for ITEP."

Rowen believes that minority and low-income students at Banning High will benefit the most.

"Students can see the railway tracks. They can hear the whistles and rumble. But they do not see the connection between these things and school. They do not picture themselves in a transportation -- the life-blood of the Southern California economy -- career. BNSF is providing this missing component for Barstow California high school students," said Rowen.

The funds will help establish an international trade, transportation, and logistics "Mojave XP Academy" at Barstow High School, located in Barstow, California. ITEP will work with Burlington Northern Santa Fe's (BNSF) to unite the Barstow business community to provide a connection between education and the real world of work.

"Academy students will be prepared to graduate, take entry-level jobs or continue on to college. Industry will have the beginnings of a pipeline of potential new workers for the trade, transportation and logistics job cluster. With BNSF support, ITEP plans to work with Barstow's business and educational community to develop a life changing and community building logistics academy," explained Rowen.

Barstow's new academy is modeled after ITEP's six-year pilot tested Academies at Phineas Banning High School, which produced historical and unmatched academic and professional improvements for students.

"Our programs help increase graduation rates, decrease dropout rates, and enhance standardized test scores," she said. Even those students who did graduate from struggling schools rarely had opportunities or motivation to pursue further education or employment. ITEP helps design programs to fulfill those needs by boosting education, work skills and work attitudes."
About ITEP

ITEP, a 501C nonprofit, offers economically disadvantaged students educational opportunities and experiences not offered in their schools or neighborhoods. ITEP introduce economically disadvantaged students in high school to careers in international trade, transportation and logistics. For more information about ITEP visit: http://www.itepinc.org/.                                                                    

About BNSF

A subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (NYSE:BNI), BNSF Railway Company operates one of the largest North American rail networks, with about 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is among the world's top transporters of intermodal traffic, moves more grain than any other American railroad, carries the components of many of the products we depend on daily, and hauls enough low-sulphur coal to generate about ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States. BNSF is an industry leader in Web-enabling a variety of customer transactions at http://www.bnsf.com.

[Editors note: For media interviews please contact Aida Mayo or George McQuade, MAYO Communications, 818-340-5300 or PR @ mayocommunications.com.]

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George S. McQuade III
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