Contributed Photo/Courtesy Gila County Public Works Department: Wayne Jones, Gila County Regional Road Manager for the Timber Region, explains the intricacies of operating heavy equipment. Jones runs Gila County’s “Road Scholar” Apprenticeship Program.
Contributed Article By Carol Broeder
GILA COUNTY – Have you daydreamed of a job running a dump truck, grader, bulldozer, or other heavy equipment? Gila County Public Works just announced a new ‘Road Scholar’ apprenticeship with pay starting at $32,398 per year, and the chance to earn your Class B Commercial Driver’s License.
And, by the end of 18 months of coaching and supervision, having learned to drive and prove your proficiency in safely operating a 10-wheel dump truck and a grader, graduates are on track for an Operator 1 salary starting at $39,186, or Operator 2 where the annual salary starts at $40,227.
Who is eligible? Applicants must be at least 18 and have a high school diploma or GED.
Apply online at gilacountyaz.gov.
Click the link for Popular Services, then Employment Opportunities–and look for the job posting for Road Maintenance/Landfill Equipment Operator Trainee. If you don’t easily find it there, call Public Works staff at (928) 402-8502 or email email@example.com
The program was created by Wayne Jones, Gila County regional road manager for the Timber Region.
“Road maintenance is important for our quality of life and maintaining our roads requires specialized skills,” Jones explains. “We’re looking to fill our vacancies with people who care for our community and have acquired the skills to professionally care for our roads.”
To start the program, Jones completed all the necessary training and classes to be a CDL Driver Training Instructor and Equipment trainer.
Jones grew up in Gila County and has worked for the county government for 12 years.
Roads and bridges — and their maintenance — have been an important part of Gila County since it was formed, says Jones, adding, “Today, Gila County maintains 756 miles of road from five road yards — Globe, Star Valley, Tonto Basin, Young, and Pine/Strawberry.”
“Each road yard has an assigned road they are responsible for and works to maintain throughout the year,” he explains. “The three main maintenance activities include grading gravel roads, repairing paved roads, and maintaining drainage features, like ditches and culverts.”
The roads are located on private land as well as in the Forest Service area.
The current team consists of 33 Road Maintenance personnel who drive all types of heavy equipment, including motor graders, bulldozers, and 10-wheel dump trucks, Jones says.
“Throughout the year, the various road yards support each other to perform snow removal, pavement patching, and storm runoff,” says Jones, adding that, from now through early June, the entire crew will team up to chip seal paved roads in Strawberry, Tonto and the Globe area.
“Road Maintenance personnel need to be skilled in heavy equipment operation and the road maintenance process and hold the required commercial driver licenses,” he explains. “We continually have vacancies and that is the reason for starting an apprenticeship program.”
According to Jones, the “ideal candidate” for the county’s Road Maintenance Apprenticeship Program would be someone “willing to learn; be a team player; have a respectable work ethic; enjoys outdoor work and the desire to operate heavy equipment.”
To be eligible, an applicant must be 18 years of age or older and have a high school diploma or GED.
Verification of the applicant’s clean driving record will be obtained by Gila County prior to employment.
The Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) is made up of two parts–Road Scholar I for the first 12 months and Road Scholar II from the end of probation through 18 months.
Road Scholar I is completed after passing eight of nine courses in the first 12 months, while Road Scholar II is achieved by passing eight of nine courses in 18 months.
Apprenticeship outcomes include working at a landfill and road yard; obtaining a Class “B” CDL; driving and demonstrating proficiency in safely operating a 10-wheel dump truck at the end of 18 months and operating a motor grader under trainer supervision.
Pay during the apprenticeship is $32,398 per year.
For Operator 1, the pay range begins at $39,186 per year.