GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The Colorado Department of Transportation has 130 vacancies right now stretching across 15 counties on the Western Slope and much of the San Louis Valley.

Our Khira Isaacs spoke with C-DOT’s Director of Maintenance to see how understaffing is directly affecting the Western Slope and what plans are in motion to help get the numbers up.

“If you’re thinking about doing something different, something exciting and something with a sense of purpose this is probably where you want to be,” says, C-DOT Director of Division of Maintenance & Operations, John Lorme.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is short 130 employees, leaving a crucial region of the state down 22% in staffing.

“There was always a 10%-12% vacancy rate for highway maintainers,” says Lorme.

In order to get these openings filled, C-DOT is in line with a few unlikely competitors — McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Walmart.

“We are in competition with any one whose looking for good people,” says Lorme.

While Wendy’s hourly pay starts at $20, C-DOT is seventy cents lower at $19.30 but John mentioned a few attractive incentives for those who work for the state.

“Within the first six to nine months, you’re going to get a 10% pay raise, you’re eligible for another promotion within two years, and you can become a heavy equipment operator with training that we supply,” continues Lorme.

C-DOT also gives bonuses to those who go the extra mile…

“For the past couple years, and we’re extending it this year — we have an end of season winter bonus program. It’s $2000 and that’s what you get for basically plowing snow for this winter,” says Lorme.

John’s been with the company eight years, working his way up, and says with all of the openings C-DOT has, the sky’s the limit.

“I’ve always learned in the army and it’s here at CDOT too, if you’re in the right place at the right time, in the right uniform and you’re motivated — you can go anywhere,” says Lorme.