Ronald Payne and James Taylor III came early to the Boots on the Ground presentation at Memorial Baptist Church in Hickman Mills Tuesday night. They were among 50 hoping to fill up to 100 open positions for MoDOT seasonal maintenance workers. They listened for a while, then left.
Anthony Patterson, however, stayed for the full 90 minutes. And so did most of the others.
Payne, 27, of Kansas City, and Taylor, 25, of Grandview, may have been looking for something different than what MoDOT was offering. Patterson however, a 52 year old restaurant manager from Kansas City, was highly receptive to MoDOT’s message: These 100 positions are a foot in the door to a career at MoDOT. The work is hard, and the emphasis is on safety, teamwork and serving the community.
As MoDOT District Maintenance Engineer Jesse Skinner told the gathering, those elements are fundamental to MoDOT’s mission, and at the end of the day, you may be tired and dirty, but you can look back on what you accomplished and think, “I did something that was important today.”
Patterson said he is looking for just this kind of opportunity, “Something steady, where I can make a difference.”
MoDOT Maintenance Superintendent Marcus Slaughter told the group in more detail just what they might expect to do if selected to work for MoDOT. Mowing, plowing snow, clearing debris from ditches and drains, patching potholes, something different each day, and very little of it indoors.
“We’re looking for people who are motivated . . . who enjoy working outdoors,” Slaughter said.
MoDOT District Human Resources Manager Deborah Hogan explained the application process, the need to be prepared, presentable and positive during the interview, and MoDOT’s requirement to have passed the Commercial Driver’s License written test before applying for the job.
Then MoDOT Maintenance Superintendent Chris Sholl explained the process required to pass the written test for a CDL. “Study this immediately, go home and read it thoroughly, and take the test as soon as possible,” he urged them, because the application deadline is at the end of July and applicants must have already passed the test to be called in for an interview. “You’ve only got nine days.”
Roena Jefferson, Kansas City, was pleased that she already had a leg up on the competition. In her previous job as a school bus driver, she had earned her CDL. She, Patterson and several others peppered MoDOT presenters with questions. “How long does your resume stay on file after you apply?” Patterson asked. “Is there a base pay level?”
After the formal presentation, MoDOT leaders talked individually with prospective applicants, answering more questions and encouraging them to take a step toward a future at MoDOT. Patterson lingered, talking to several MoDOT employees, asking more questions. His interest was obvious, his enthusiasm evident. When he shook hands – several times – with Slaughter and several others, there was a bounce in his step as he walked away.