Candidates flood teaching fair in tough job market

FRESNO, Calif. Those who attended the fair were students, new graduates, even alumni who have gotten pink slips and are interviewing for a second time. Many of them say to compete in such a tough market they are getting credentials in subjects that are typically hardest to fill.

Eager to become educators, teaching candidates sat down with school administrators hoping to land a job.

"My passion really is teaching. I want to make a difference," said Fresno State student Elise Stringham.

But the reality for Elise Stringham, whose credentials allow her to teach art, is that of the 36 districts at the teacher recruitment fair -- only one is looking to hire an art teacher.

"I'm a single subject art and I'm exploring special education because he art field is very closed off."

Special Education like English and Science are subjects that are always in high demand. Fowler Unified is one of the few districts looking to hire new teachers. Superintendent Dr. John Cruz says districts have a pool of strong credentialed candidates to choose from. "When you have critical vacancies in science, math you have to staff, you have to go out and staff them. You owe it to the kids."

"They still need math teachers out there so I'm keeping my fingers crossed," said Fresno State student Jennifer Zolnierowicz.

Diana Dille with Fresno State's Kremen School of Education says instead of switching majors students realize they have to sharpen their focus. "They really want a job in that profession they are willing to do extra things they need to be employed."

Like Lee Strange who is finishing credentials as a multiple subject teacher. Her edge in the market is that she's bilingual, and can speak, read and write fluent Hmong.

"Even though it's not in high demand it's still a necessity," said Strange, "In Fresno there are a lot of Hmong students, if you have that part with you, you hope it helps you."

Normally there are 80 to 100 districts that attend the fair looking for teaching candidates. This year there were 36, and we're told this is still considered one of the larger teacher recruiting fairs in the area.

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