The latest episode of the ‘The D.O.T. P.O.D.’ podcast produced by the New York State Department of Transportation delves into the agency’s partnership with the State University of New York’s Cobleskill campus (SUNY Cobleskill) to provide a “foundation of practical experience” and skills for students seeking careers as diesel and agricultural equipment technicians.
[Above image by NYSDOT]
The podcast showcased the many career opportunities within NYSDOT for a variety of skilled trade positions; especially those related to equipment upkeep.
Shane Gilchrest, NYSDOT’s director of fleet administration and support, participated in this podcast, along with Kaden Marvin, assistant professor in SUNY Cobleskill’s Agricultural Engineering Department, and Corey Cherizard, a student currently enrolled in the school’s trade program.
“The size of our fleet is about 11,000 pieces of equipment, with 7,000 of that rolling stock,” Gilchrest noted. “When we are fully staffed, we have about 300 technicians; a number of supervisors; and a huge parts operation that has 10 regional stocking facilities and 70 satellite locations. We procure about $30 million a year in parts, we carry about $20 million in inventory, we buy $75 million to $80 million a year in equipment, and annually we spend about $20 million a year on commercial work that goes out to dealers.”
He noted that keeping NYSDOT’s fleet up and running is a job “with a lot of moving pieces to it, and it doesn’t happen without a lot of people doing a lot of hard work every day of the year.”
Gilchrest noted that NYSDOT got involved with SUNY Cobleskill from the “recognition” that there is a shortage of technicians looming.
“We had an opportunity to partner with the school in 2015 to provide internships at NYSDOT,” he explained. “We felt that was a win for us and a win for the students. Now, fast forward to today, and we’ve expanded that partnership to include doing outreach together; making sure that students not only get internships but achieve successful careers in this field. We also loan equipment [to the school] once it is beyond its useful life at NYSDOT for training purposes.”
Gilchrest noted on the podcast that part of NYSDOT’s partnership focus is to attract kids that aren’t going to college into trade programs to help fill in the gaps left by current technicians that are retiring out of the workforce.
“We are going into the high schools and encouraging young people to come and see what we have to offer,” he said.
To listen to the full podcast, click here.