Education Matters: Fresno County schools hoping to fill positions amid staffing shortage

Education Matters

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – You’ve heard about the critical need for substitute teachers in local schools but the shortage of workers goes beyond those who work in the classroom.

The Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools is working to get the word out about the many career opportunities in education.

Deon Carraway has a way with kids, but working with children as a pre-school teacher’s assistant is not a job he thought he wanted until he did it.

“I love seeing them learn, I love seeing them play, I just loved everything about it so it wasn’t something that I started to do that I wanted to do in the beginning but it’s something I definitely want to end with,” explained Carraway.

Carraway is just one of the 1,400 employees of the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and like other educational institutions, FCSS is experiencing a worker shortage.

“prior to covid 19 we would post positions in our organization and we would get 50 to 100 applicants, as of late, we get maybe 10 or 15 applicants.  I think there’s some genuine fear still out in the community about working with large groups,” said Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, Jim Yovino.

Yovino says because of COVID-19 safety protocols, schools are one of the safest places to be. Now that kids are back full time, there is a huge demand for positions like bus drivers, program assistants, nurses, and of course teachers.

“Here’s what I can tell the community we have a shortage, we need you, we need you in our classrooms, our kids need you,” Yovino said.

Yovino says opportunities in education are many…more importantly the jobs are rewarding.  Stephanie Mena is an accounting technician, and although her job is budgeting and auditing she still feels like she’s helping kids.

“I like going into the classrooms and just mainly seeing everything that they’re using when it comes to supplies you know even the teachers helping out which is, you know, where salaries come in and that’s a big part of what I do,” Mena said.

Mena wants to be an accountant and says the organization is very supportive and offers training for those who want to move up. Monica Chavez who is a special education teacher started out as a para educator, someone who assists in the classroom.

“And I got the experience working in the classroom and from there you know it opened up many doors especially in Fresno County,” Chavez said. “And so I decided to go back to school, get my credential and I basically started working as a teacher while getting my credential.”

Paraeducators are in huge demand in an effort to fill that and other positions the county superintendent of schools has posted a PSA on its website as part of its jobs campaign

“every opportunity in our education community in particular for those who work for us really surrounds around one thing, and that’s being able to help children and help families,” Yovino said.

To find out more about job opportunities just go to the website fcoe.org.

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