CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is looking to fill dozens of jobs. 

What You Need To Know

  • NCDOT is currently facing a 20% vacancy rate statewide
  • The agency says most of the vacancies are due to retirements and promotions
  • NCDOT is looking to fill vacancies with on-the-job training and apprentice programs

The agency says it’s currently facing a 20% vacancy rate statewide.

Most of the vacancies are due to retirements and promotions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Director of HR Amanda Olive.

The department’s vacancy rate jumped from 18% in early 2020 to 23% in early 2022.

“In terms of vacancy rates, that’s a pretty significant jump,” Olive said.

The department is making headway on bringing the vacancy percentage down, but Olive says finding qualified candidates can still be a challenge.

“There were times where we were, we would have hundreds of applicants that would come through qualified for positions. And now we’re just not seeing that,” Olive said.

Olive says part of the reason is that technical training programs for this kind of work are being cut at community colleges, or universities, across the state.

Garret Ratcliffe is the assistant county maintenance engineer for NCDOT’s Mecklenburg County division. He’s been with the department for about eight years.

“When I was a kid, I used to play with Legos, and I loved the idea of being able to build something, and when I found out I could make a career out of it – it was a no brainer,” Ratcliffe said.

Ratcliffe graduated from UNC Charlotte with a civil engineering degree and enrolled in a training program at NCDOT. He was recently promoted to his current position where he oversees various road projects.

“There’s no repetition or pattern. I could get a call about an issue on the roadway, and we’re scheduling crews to go ahead and take care of those issues,” Ratcliffe said.

Both Olive and Ratcliffe maintain the current number of open positions at the department isn’t slowing down or stopping road projects. However, the quicker they fill those jobs, the better.

“More transportation workers will help us get more work done. We can get ahead, get more projects down, and our roads will be in better condition,” Ratcliffe said.

It’s why Ratcliffe encourages those high school and college aged to think about a career with NCDOT.

“We have a lot of work here that can be done, a lot of diverse work to be done, and they can get a lot of exposure and learn some lifelong skills as well,” Ratcliffe said.

Olive says they’re trying new ways to get people interested in working for NCDOT and build "lifelong careers" at the department.

For example, the department recently rolled out a pilot internship program at high schools across the state. And soon, the team is looking to add new internal programs to replay what community colleges used to do.

To learn more about open positions and training programs, visit NCDOT’s website.