Kansas hiring to fill snow plow driver shortage

Wichita snow plows lined up and ready to go when the snow starts overnight Sunday to Monday. Wichita snow plows lined up and ready to go when the snow starts overnight Sunday to Monday.
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Michael Bustos is gearing up for winter weather. He's a Kansas Department of Transportation snow plow driver, and he's ready for long hours this winter.

"It doesn't really bother us much to work those 12-hour shifts," Bustos said. "And at the end of the day, we're trying to make the roads safer for the traveling public. It's what we do."

The transportation department is looking to hire 171 new workers overall, and 73 of those open positions are drivers for snow plow equipment.

"Between retirements and people going to other jobs, we're always looking," said Tom Hein with KDOT. "We're at a juncture now, kind of entering that possibility of winter weather coming soon, that we need to get people on to get them trained."

Drivers have begun training for snow and ice in Salina already. That might seem early, but it snowed in mid-October last year. Kansas will see drivers working rotating 12-hour shifts in heavy snowfall events. Drivers say the hours can be hard, but it's worth it.

"It's not so much about the overtime pay," Bustos said. "It's about the safety on the road. I mean, yes, it's okay to have extra crumbs in your pocket. But, at the end of the day, your family and my family, it's a better road for the public."

Tom Hein with KDOT said experience helps, but they're looking for skilled or unskilled workers.

"We have a training program for equipment operators, so they can come in without a CDL or knowledge of how to run a skid steer or backhoe or tractor, and we'll train them," Hein said.

To apply, click here or visit jobs.ks.gov and search for "snow equipment."

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