Wyoming Struggles To Find Snowplow Operators for This Winter

Wyoming Struggles To Find Snowplow Operators for This Winter

Written by on September 14, 2021

With winter around the corner, W.Y.D.O.T. is looking for dozens of operators to keep Wyoming roads free of snow – but there’s not much interest in these jobs.

Snow removal on Wyoming highways is one of the most important tasks for the Wyoming Department of Transportation. But now, they’re dealing with low supply and – so far – low demand.

W.Y.D.O.T. is currently looking to fill over 50 temporary full-time snowplow operators. Temporary operators can receive between $16.40 and $19.44 an hour for their work.

Nearly every major city or town in Wyoming needs temporary snowplow operators. A partial list of jobs includes the following locations:

  • Ten Sleep
  • Cody
  • Jackson
  • Rock Springs
  • Cheyenne
  • Laramie
  • Pinedale
  • Casper

There are fewer positions than there were a decade ago, but the need hasn’t gotten any less. The problem is there are currently fewer applications for the open positions.

W.Y.D.O.T. shared the following post on its social media pages.

“In 2011 W.Y.D.O.T. had 472 permanent and temporary plow drivers. In 2021 plow driver jobs have been cut to 417 permanent and temporary. Statewide currently we have 50+ permanent vacancies plus the temporaries we are trying to hire for the winter season. We are seeing limited interest in our permanent positions and when people are offered a job many times they turn the job down for a better opportunity. Please be patient with plow drivers this winter as they will be spread thin and working extremely long hours in some of the worst weather. Drive safe out there!”

With so many open positions, W.Y.D.O.T. asks Wyoming drivers to be patient with their plow operators – they might be tackling the same workload with significantly fewer drivers.

W.Y.D.O.T. is already trying to make its snow removal operations work considering current and future budget cuts. In December 2020, W.Y.D.O.T. director Luke Reiner said a lower budget will not stop roads from being plowed, but they may stay snowier longer. Many of the department’s snow elimination tools – magnesium, salt, and chloride –were used more sparingly than in years past.

Every year, the department released a Snow Removal Operations Plan. The plan prioritizes roads and highways across the state, which determines the resources, manpower, and funding each segment of highway receives.

Categorizing Wyoming’s roads is done not only for WYDOT to achieve maximum efficiency. The yearly plan ensures the state’s drivers are moving along as quickly as can be safely permitted.

Courtesy WYDOT

But much of the department’s plan relies on drivers being responsible: be mindful of road conditions, drive slower in slick conditions, and be prepared in the event you need to stop or are unable to continue driving.

In the meantime, anyone looking for a W.Y.D.O.T. career or just wants to make a living moving snow this winter can apply for any of the open positions on the State of Wyoming’s Government Jobs webpage.


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