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Iowa DOT looks to hire 600 seasonal employees in time for winter

The department of transportation is also busy preparing trucks and equipment to maintain roads during winter storms.

AMES, Iowa — For the Iowa Department of Transportation winter comes early every year—by mid-October, crews are in high gear, preparing trucks, equipment and employees.

Rod Geisinger has been with the DOT for 10 years. This week, his team has been installing equipment on the back of trucks that will be used to lay brine and salt on Iowa's roadways. 

"There's a delicate balance to what we do," said Geisinger, who started as seasonal employee.

The DOT is trying to fill more than 600 seasonal positions this winter

"The wildcard is always our seasonal staffing," said winter operations administrator Craig Bargfrede. "Once we bring those folks on, there's a lot of things that happen, refresher training that they have to go through, and making sure that they're up to speed with the operation of the trucks."

With staffing shortages hitting nearly every industry, the DOT is bracing for that possibility.

"We've already taken a look at it... from both a full time and seasonal staff perspective and matching those up with the snow runs for each garage... if we do run into some staffing shortages," said Bargfrede.

Geisiner recalls the seasonal work was a good way to supplement his income and helped put his kids through school.

"[You] enjoy the people we work with and the things we do, [and] you'll understand a little more why we do what we do," he said.

This year, the wages for seasonal employees start at $18.97 an hour. 

Last year, the department said it was able to fill 450 of the 600 available positions.