Now Hiring Michiana: Plowing the way with INDOT
MISHAWAKA, Ind., -- This week on Now Hiring Michiana ABC57's Morgan Clark hit the road with the Indiana Department of Transportation ahead of the winter season with a behind-the-wheel look at what it’s like to work the winter seasonal positions.
It’s a familiar sight for many Midwesterners: snow-covered roadways. At INDOT, the plows clear Indiana’s main arteries, on a mission to prevent hazardous driving conditions.
Public relations director of INDOT Northwest, Cassandra Bajek says INDOT is looking for plow drivers.
“Right now, our main focus is to get people to drive the plows over the winter," said Bajek.
“If we weren’t able to find enough plow drivers, or if we didn’t have enough people to cover all of our routes, it would definitely make more hazardous driving situation for people out on the roadways. We plow all the state roads, so if we’re not able to cover those, state-road 2, US-20 or the by-pass, it would be really slow-going for people over those winter months.”
Seasonal snow removal drivers may work long hours with a schedule as fluid as the changing weather but they do it as a service to the community.
Operations manager of the Plymouth Sub District, Ermilo Ducret feels a sense of accomplishment with his work.
"At the end of it, you know you’ve accomplished a huge task in keeping the public safe," said Ducret. "And that is a big accomplishment, especially for snow removal. Everybody takes pride in all the routes that they plow in knowing that there are no accidents, the snow is removed as quickly as they can.”
Not all heroes wear capes, some wear bright yellow vests, including crew leader Rick Farrell.
Farrell has been with INDOT for 17 years. Like many of us, his career interests sparked at a young age.
“I always wanted to work for INDOT for a long time to get the experience watching snow plowers during when I was a kid, gave me inspiration,” Farrell said. “I grew up in downtown South Bend, the northwest side. Many times, they’d come down Wilbur St. Just watching them is something I always wanted to try out and do. That’s what INDOT’s really about, getting the job done safely, getting your productivity done and knowing that at the end of the day, you did good for people.”
You will need a CDL to drive plows in this seasonal position. So, if you have a CDL, but feel intimidated by the large trucks, don’t worry INDOT will work with you until you’re ready.
“When you come to INDOT, they do the best they can to train you and prepare you before you go solo on a plow drive," said Farrell. "That helps for anybody that’s new, or for anybody who has never been behind a bigger truck. It’s not like they push you, they take the proper steps to prepare you.”
You can apply for seasonal and full-time positions at https://workforindiana.in.gov/
The Mishawaka substation is currently hiring seasonal drivers but it’s also hiring full-time positions as a highway maintenance technician.
“A lot of people don’t understand what we do, the think we just drive a truck and that’s all we do," said Ducret.
Ducret is currently looking to add more people to highway maintenance for full-time positions. In addition to holidays off, 12 vacation days and a competitive pay, another benefit? CDL training for full-time positions.
“Coming to INDOT, a full-time position, a C-D-L is required, but we train for that C-D-L," said Ducret. “For our full-time positions, there’s nothing out-of-pocket for them.”
The training can save you thousands of dollars.
And your hard work on the job certainly shows.
“On a typical day-to-day, when it’s not snow removal, there’s a wide variety that maintenance does, we’re out cutting grass, we’re out digging ditches, we replace pipes, fill potholes, we do the crack seal, we currently have the crack seal project on US-31,” said Ducret.
Keep in mind, you will need a CDL to apply for seasonal positions.