Winter is coming in Michigan, but the shortage of snow plow and salt truck drivers is already here

snow plow
Posted at 2:30 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 14:30:53-04

(WXYZ) — Winter may be fast approaching, but there’s still a major shortage of drivers for snow plows and salt trucks statewide and here in Southeastern Michigan.

The worker shortage is partly due to high levels of recruiting competition from businesses in the private sector.


County by county, we’re digging into the amount of truck drivers needed to plow snow and salt.

"We know there is a worker shortage. For the driver positions, you do need a CDL; we offer training for those positions as well,” said Derick Coley, Director of Equipment Division, Dept. of Public Services at Wayne County Michigan.

Inside a job fair at Wayne County Community College District in downtown Detroit, they are looking to recruit drivers to plow snow and salt roads throughout Wayne County.

With roughly 50 openings, it's a career that truly makes a difference.

"We are here and ready to meet the challenge. We have a dedicated team,” said Coley.

Coley isn’t alone. In Oakland County, heavy snow is also already weighing on them.

"The full time position starts out at $18.50 an hour and after a 9-month probationary period, it jumps to $24 an hour," said Craig Bryson with the Road Commission for Oakland County.

Bryson says 10 full and 20 part time positions need to be filled and they’ve got backup plans.

"We have contingency plans and non-driver staff who have CDLAs, some of them work in offices. We put them on the road when needed," said Bryson.

In Macomb County, Director Leo Ciavatta with the Macomb County Department of Roads knows the power of Mother Nature as well as anyone. He too needs to fill positions lost to the private sector, and like Wayne and Oakland, is offering competitive pay and full benefits year round with plenty of OT opportunities.

"We have quite a few spots open. We need to get these people hired and trained for the winter months," said Ciavatta.

MDOT gives further insight, telling us a shortage is being felt more on the state’s west side, where some have left for signing bonuses with companies like Amazon.
In SE Michigan, most highway plowing and salting is contracted to county crews, but that said ..."Overall, we are in pretty good shape, but there are still problems filling some positions," said Mark Geib, maintenance director of MDOT.

And State Rep. Joe Bellino from Monroe County says even in the event of fewer drivers, community members are already prepared to step up.

"We’re lucky in Monroe County ... we've got a lot of extra farmers with CDLs and guys that drive for aggregate in the summers with CDLs. They switch over and jump into the big trucks, and they plow and salt,” said Rep. Bellino.

If you're interested in applying for any of the open positions, here are several ways to do that:

Road Commission for Oakland County: Https://www.Rcocweb.Org/

Macomb County: Https://roads.Macombgov.Org/roads-home?Webdesign=adaptive

Wayne County: Https://www.Waynecounty.Com/departments/publicservices/roads.Aspx