Kansas Department of Transportation looking to fill hundreds of positions

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The Kansas Department of Transportation is facing a 100 percent turnover rate for entry-level operators.

KDOT says they didn't always have problems filling operator positions, but workers are now finding better opportunities and pay outside in the private sector.

"We bring them in we train them they get a CDL license and then they're out the door with a company that pays more and that's a challenge for us," says Tom Hein with KDOT's Wichita office.

The State of Kansas needs 1,200 drivers, but it only has half of those positions filled. Hein says over a two-year period almost every employee in the position ends up leaving.

"People don't stay at jobs as long as they used to although we do have some in KDOT who have been 30 and 40 years that's a rarity now," he says.

Russell Dempsey is the lead instructor for White Line CDL Training. He says pay is important for new students. The average private sector pay is around 50 thousand dollars, but KDOT is only around $27,000

Dempsey says communication with KDOT would help for new hires.

"If KDOT would come to us local schools and say, 'This is what we got. This is what we offer. The experience we need is this. We pay XYZ, but this is why they should come work for us.' That would really help," he says.

Hein says he believes there's more to the problem than money.

"The funding maybe isn't the problem so much as the available pool of applicants is the problem for us," says Hein.

You can find details on how to apply for a position with the Kansas Department of Transportation