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PennDOT preparing for winter in the Poconos

Many of us might not be thinking ahead to winter, but PennDOT sure is. The Poconos is one place that gets hit pretty hard during the cold months.

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — Say it isn't so, we are talking about snow.

"We are in a unique state where weather conditions change, and they can change quickly. We want people to be prepared and ready. Now is the time they need to be doing their part as well, getting that winter emergency kit in their car. Getting cars checked for tires, brakes, windshield wipers," said Ronald Young, spokesperson for PennDOT District 5, which covers Monroe and Carbon County.

Well, PennDOT is talking about it.

The state agency is gearing up for another winter.

Young says it takes time and proper planning to get ready for the winter months. 

Plow trucks and other equipment start to get checked in September. Now it's time to get seasonal staff hired. A job fair was held at PennDOT's office in Stroud Township.

"We are looking for CDL operators. And diesel mechanics are what we need right now to help out through the winter. They can lead to permanent jobs if someone is looking for a permanent job," said Young.

Young says the pandemic continues to play a role this year in more ways than one.

For starters, the hope is for extra staff in case people go down with COVID-19.

"We thankfully haven't had any significant outbreaks within our ranks, but as you said, you never know. Again, we are seeing some numbers in the region on the slight uptick," said Young.

The other issue is a labor shortage. Young says more people who are headed back to work are choosing jobs in the private sector.

"There are places that need workers right now, and we are one of them. We are hoping to get some people in. I mean, we don't want to take away from the private sector, but we want to hire our own people and have them in here," said Young.

Young stresses that even if PennDOT doesn't hire as many people as it hopes to, the job will still get done. The agency can move staff members from surrounding counties if and when a storm is expected to hit.