April 19th Job Fair to feature schools, career and continuing education support providers.
WACO, Texas – Across the state, schools are seeing major shortages of employees in many roles, not just in teaching positions. Schools are looking to fill positions in areas such as technology, transportation, food service, tutoring and education. Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12 is working through multiple avenues to support schools in recruiting and retaining staff by preparing, supporting and connecting qualified and passionate individuals to Central Texas schools.
A new partnership with Grand Canyon University, a private university in Phoenix, Arizona, provides all Region 12 (12 area counties) students, school employees and family members access to scholarship opportunities and resources for continuing their education. This partnership was pursued in the hopes of giving schools an opportunity to invest in their employees and help them grow.
“I think schools are going to need to be creative,” said ESC Region 12 Director of Strategic Leadership, Mark Parsons, Ed.D. “If districts are looking for an affordable option to make investments in their employees, so they can fulfill their degree work and move onto different positions within the district, GCU is a partner to make that happen.”
ESC Region 12 connects educators to external support resources, but the center also provides programs for educators to prepare for additional certifications or training. One example is the Principal Preparation and Certification Program, which offers an alternative pathway to certification for educators who already possess a master’s degree and have two years of teaching experience. The program prepares educators for required tests and situations they’ll face in school leadership positions, while still allowing them to serve as full-time educators, said Russ Meggs, a principal liaison at ESC Region 12.
“We’re a face-to-face program,” Meggs said. “There are so many benefits to that, like the one-on-one interaction, learning from doing and real-life conversations about experiences and the job itself. We do everything together.”
Outside of helping school personnel move toward career goals, the nonprofit education center offers multiple avenues of support for schools and educators. One program, High Impact Tutoring Training, trains tutors to work in schools. The program has been adapted in the past year to tailor to the needs of schools, and provide training to teachers and paraprofessionals on tutoring products and best practices, said Shirley Strong, an education specialist and coordinator at ESC Region 12.
“The idea behind this program is that it helps to close the gaps in student learning through acceleration with the use of these products,” Strong said. “We want to help teachers keep students on level with their peers.”
Along with these initiatives, ESC Region 12 provides many other resources to help schools fulfill their staffing needs, including Substitute Teacher Training, School Bus Driver Certification, Bilingual/ESL Preparation and a Paraprofessional (Teaching Assistant) Academy. The center also has a staff placement service, Personnel on Demand, to assign nurses, librarians and counselors to schools, especially small ones in rural areas which may not be able to find or afford a full-time position. To help with recruiting, the center offers an online job board at www.esc12.net/jobs for openings and school job fair dates.
Information from these programs, and more than 25 education entities, will be available at the ESC Region 12 Education Job Fair on Wednesday. The free event will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 2101 W Loop 340, Waco, TX 76712. The fair is a convenient opportunity to connect schools with potential employees and introduce future Region 12 school employees to the support and resources ESC Region 12 offers.
“People hear education job fair and may think of “teachers”, but supporting students takes many positions,” said Larry Robinson, ESC Region 12 senior director of human resources. “We are recruiting for people services and that means bus drivers, food service workers, counselors, speech therapists, technology support and more.”