HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM)- Summer is still on the minds of many but there’s a chill in the air at PennDOT.

“We’re always doing some sort of planning for winter and right now, we’re hiring temporary winter CDL operators,” David Thompson, community relations coordinator for PennDOT District 8, said.

This isn’t the first year PennDOT is looking to increase its fleet.

“I don’t know what’s driving our vacancies, whether it’s the lack of people with CDL licenses or it’s competition from the private sector but we have had shortages for a number of years,” Thompson said.

The CDL driver shortage isn’t just affecting PennDOT, the issue is across the board. According to the American Trucking Association, in 2022, there was a need for 80,000 truck drivers. That’s predicted to rise to 160,000 by 2031. Not only are more drivers retiring, but there’s also an issue pushing younger drivers away.

“You have to be 21 to drive across state lines so you can be 18 to get your CDL but a lot of companies won’t hire you at 18 because you can’t drive across state lines,” Megan Megensky, director of communications for Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, said.

PMTA is trying to change that requirement at a federal level.

“That way, they can join the trucking industry right out of high school after graduation,” Magensky said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will host a hiring event for job seekers to learn about winter temporary CDL operator (starting pay is $21/hr.) and clerical assistant positions (starting pay is $15.88hr.) the department offers in Perry County.

The event will be held from 8:00 a,m. to 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16, at the Perry County Maintenance Office, 413 W. Main Street, New Bloomfield PA 17068. For more information, call 717-582-2191.