The Missouri Department of Transportation has had significant turnover over the last four years. During a Missouri Chamber of Commerce Transportation Summit this week, MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna says about 2,500 workers have left the agency since 2016. The agency has about 5,000 workers.
“Kind of shocking. Imagine if that were the case in your industry, in your business also. That’s an incredible churn for us to manage and it comes at a significant cost – cost of capability, knowledge transfer, experience and dedication. There are a lot of soft costs,” says McKenna.
McKenna says the department has had a particularly tough time attracting civil engineers.
“We’ve had great success over 100 years attracting civil engineers into public service in Missouri – putting that Missouri funded education right to work here in Missouri at MoDOT,” says McKenna. “We’ve only been attracting about a 1/3 of the employees of new civil engineers from Missouri institutions. And why? It’s because we are not competitive in the market with our salaries.”
Missouri has the lowest paid state workforce in the nation. McKenna says MoDOT is taking a hard look at the benefits it offers employees.
MoDOT is also going into a critical time of year when it ramps up its winter weather operations. It is lacking plow truck drivers and heavy equipment operators. The shortage, coupled with COVID-19 likely to impact its workforce, could put the traveling public in a major bind this winter.
The department is hiring plow truck drivers and heavy equipment operators to handle things like plowing the snow and ice off roads, spreading salt and sand.
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