The worker shortage in the nation continues to reach practically every corner of the workforce.

The latest call for help here in South Dakota comes in the form of the urgent need for more snowplow drivers.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation has 400 snowplows at the ready should we need to deploy them during the winter months. If Mother Nature decides to open up her snow gates anytime soon and take a dump, around 30 of those plows will be unable to leave their shops due to a worker shortage in the state.

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Dakota News Now is reporting, 25 of the 60 DOT shops are understaffed at this time.

South Dakota DOT Director of Operations, Craig Smith told Dakota News Now, "We could have up to maybe 20 or 30 trucks that, if we need them, we wouldn’t be able to get on the road just because of where we’re at with available drivers.”

What happens if the situation doesn't change?

According to Smith, "If we don’t have drivers in those trucks we’re going to have to prioritize, obviously, our interstate.” Meaning some of the secondary highways throughout the state will not be cleared as soon as in previous years.

The city of Sioux Falls is also feeling the worker shortage in terms of available plow drivers.

Sioux Falls Street Operations Manager Dustin Hansen told Dakota News Now, the city's full-time workforce is strong, however, there is a real need right now for part-time snowplow drivers. At this time, Sioux Falls has only eight part-time plow drivers on the team. They average between 15 and 20 each season.

Is help on the way?

Both operations are hopeful. As Dakota News Now reports, both the DOT and the city of Sioux Falls are counting on construction workers signing on to drive plows once they’re done working for the season.

The DOT is taking steps to incentivize drivers.

They're currently offering a $500 bonus to help lure in drivers and have upped their minimum wage to $19 per hour.

The hope is these steps will attract additional snowplow drivers soon and help to alleviate the safety risk that comes along with not being able to get all the plows on the road as soon as possible to remove snow.

You can get more information here on how to become a snowplow driver for the DOT and the city of Sioux Falls.

Source: Dakota News Now


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