(WGHP) — The North Carolina Department Of Transportation is facing a workforce shortage statewide.
There are more than 200 job listings, and the Piedmont Triad is seeing some of that strain. NCDOT road projects could be delayed or even stopped until the NCDOT finds enough people.
With more people coming to live in the Triad, there is a need for more road expansions.
“Many of our transportation worker positions are pretty difficult to fill just because of the lack of personnel,” NCDOT Division Engineer for Division 9 Pat Ivey said.
The struggle to get workers is nothing new for the department. They’ve been seeing this issue since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCDOT has more than 200 job openings.
“We currently have about a 20% vacancy rate for the department. We have been posting positions pretty rigorously over the last year and a half and trying to get people into them,” NCDOT HR director Amanda Olive said.
Ivey oversees five counties in the Triad:
- Forsyth County
- Stokes County
- Davie County
- Davidson County
- Rowan County
In these counties, there’s a total of 30 large-scale road projects. They have 90 vacancies and still struggle to fill them.
“We’re all drawing from that same limited pool of employees, so it is a little bit harder to get good qualified applicants on many of these positions,” Ivey said.
That means projects will take longer to complete and the department will have to bring people from outside the state to complete them.
“They’re not familiar with some of the challenges, the impacts, the things that make it special and unique that you want to preserve as you’re doing these constructions,” Olive said.
On top of all that, the department is also seeing a large group of people retiring in the next few years.
As for the new generations, the NCDOT says most of the certification programs and technical programs for this kind of work no longer exist.
“We have really struggled finding community colleges or certification programs across North Carolina for those over the last couple of years when they used to be abundant in all the geographic regions,” Olive said.
The NCDOT is trying to find other ways to bring new people to the industry.
In the next six months, the team is looking to add new internal programs to replace what community colleges used to do.