SVSU hosts Education Employment Fair to battle teacher shortage

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KOCHVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - (06/19/2018) - Schools around the nation are finding themselves struggling to fill positions for educators. Tuesday afternoon, Saginaw Valley State University hosted a job fair inviting dozens of school districts to try to fill those voids.

42 employers were at SVSU today desperately looking for qualified teachers to come work for them. And many were using new tactics to lure people in.

"For year and years and years our best and brightest were discouraged from going into education because the jobs weren't there," said Dr. Craig Douglas, Dean of SVSU’s College of Education

But now Douglas, along with school districts across the nation are finding themselves with too many openings and not enough teachers to fill them.

"We haven't been paying teachers what they deserve, number one, the benefits have changed significantly over the years, so right now we have to reinvest and look at our priorities," said Jeannine Williams, who serves as the Human Resource Recruiter for Peoria, Ill.

Williams traveled Illinois to look for new teachers but she wasn’t the only one. Another school came all the way from Alaska. Many districts are trying new tactics to draw in employees. Like a $2500 signing bonus at Saginaw Public Schools, interim superintendent Ramont Roberts told ABC12.

"Added incentive to attract the best candidates to Saginaw Public schools because we feel we're one of the best school districts in the region and we want to continue that tradition by putting the best teachers in front of our students," said Roberts.

Some, like Duane Edwards are benefiting from the teaching shortage.

"I've come back because teachings really the only thing I’ve ever been passionate about," said Edwards.

Edwards was pursuing his dream of becoming a secondary education teacher, until four years ago he stopped because of financial reasons. But now the timing and situation is right. He is currently enrolled in SVSU’s accelerated certification with residency program.

Often those interested with a career in education, heard only one thing when they share the news.

"Sharing with people that I'm going into teaching, even now, I get that discouragement of don't go into teaching. It's not a good time for, things like that," said SVSU Education student Jessica July.

Between so many of the older generation teachers retiring and the fear of low paying teaching jobs for prospective educators... it has left a large hole in the education work place. But we could see trend changing back to normal soon.

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