COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you currently hold a CDL, the open road is full of open opportunities. The Ohio Department of Transportation and local snow removal companies are competing to get operators behind the wheel.
ODOT is currently hiring 500 seasonal operators for the winter months. ODOT Columbus is looking to fill 30 part-time and 20 full-time workers.
“We're not up there to 30 yet, we're about maybe 80% there. But we're still really feeling that CDL driver shortage,” said Brooke Ebersole, the public information officer for ODOT District 6.
“It's no secret that there is a shortage of CDL drivers across the board here in Ohio, and across the country. The school bus industry is feeling it, the semi-trucking industry is feeling it and ODOT is no exception to that.”
Ebersole said it is hard for ODOT to compete with larger companies offering $30 an hour for seasonal work. The nearly $19 an hour pay at ODOT comes with state benefits and can’t be further incentivized unless there are changes to the state budget.
ODOT said they will not stop plowing certain routes even if there aren’t enough drivers. Operators will double or even triple up on routes to fill-in, and even extend hours. Commuters will notice the longer route times and Ebersole says you need to plan for it ahead of time.
“Remember that a snowplow route takes anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes to clear,” Ebersole said. “When we're talking about drivers, doubling or even tripling up on routes, now you're talking about three hours or so that it might take for your route to get clear for you to be able to get home, get to work, get to school, wherever it is, you might need to go.”
Yard Solutions in Groveport is looking to have hundreds of workers on standby in case of a winter storm.
“You need 400 people to get about 50,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, the talent manager at Yard Solutions. “When you call them at 1:00 a.m., they're less likely to say yes, when they did when they're in the office. We have to reach people in different ways. Certain people like the funnier ads, certain people are attracted to facts and incentives. You can make $25 to $35 an hour doing this job. Some people we meet like they're supplementing their unemployment or doing different things. You we reach people by using different types of ads.”
Yard Solutions is holding a hiring event on Friday. For more information, click here.
To apply for a job at ODOT, visit this website.