Over the past few years, it has become increasingly difficult to hire employees to fill our complement for winter services such as CDL drivers, diesel and automotive mechanics, semi-skilled labors, tradesman helpers, stock clerks and radio dispatchers. Even though help wanted ads were placed in local papers and the positions posted online, very few people applied.
To break this trend, PennDOT's District 12 in the southwestern part of the state decided to change its hiring strategy. They gathered a team of employees who were challenged with determining why we were not getting applicants and to find a way to change it.
The most common issues we were aware of were:
- Applicants did not know how to apply
- They were not good with computers
- They did not have an email address
- They do not have computer access
Our biggest question then became, "What can we do to help?"
We decided to alleviate some of these issues by hosting a recruitment fair for our county offices. We stepped up our advertising by using message boards throughout each county announcing the event and creating a flyer that was distributed to CDL schools, legislative offices, farmers' associations, and other interested parties. We created an email version of the flyer that was shared with our partners including municipalities, school districts, EMS services, media, and more. It was also shared with our employees with a note to pass it along to their friends and families.
The fairs were set up to make it easy to apply. After greeting the prospective candidates, we had current employees talk to them about what they could expect as a temporary winter employee and the benefits they would experience. There was a plow truck on display along with operators to answer any questions. Laptops were set up at each fair with regional recruitment personnel available to help them sign on and apply.
It was a success!
- Fayette County had 72 prospective employees and 65 completed an online application.
- Westmoreland County had 83 prospective employees and 70 completed an online application.
- Washington County in combination with our Greene County had 32 prospective employees and 20 completed an online application.
Combined, there were approximately 60 CDL operators who expressed interest in our Winter Maintenance Program. During the fairs, we also had permanent CDL operator positions available in two counties. We had 23 permanent CDL applicants for Westmoreland County and 12 for Washington County.