Heavy recruiting for teachers amid nationwide teacher shortage

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Enrollment is down at local colleges for students looking to get their teaching credential. Local educators say the decline is amid a nationwide teacher shortage. Fresno Unified School District and local universities are using every tool in their tool boxes to recruit teachers.

National University in Fresno is hoping to fill their classrooms with students earning their teaching credentials. Enrollment numbers for people looking to get into education are low but National University is already seeing a 13% increase since July. They say they're doing everything they can to encourage people to get their credentials and become a teacher.

Dr. Cathy Pohan, with National University, said, "The greatest incentive is the prospect of a job! And I think teacher candidates now have a real incentive knowing that they're going to get a job."

Dr. Pohan says this is all because of a teacher shortage. During the recent economic downturn, teachers were getting laid off so some didn't pursue a career in education. Now, there are plenty of jobs but not enough applicants.

"We had probably 28 people who were scheduled to student teach, which is a part-time, learning to practice under a teacher," said Dr. Pohan. "95% of those students were offered a contract."

National University officials say they get daily calls from local school districts asking about what kinds of students they have enrolled who are getting their teaching credentials. Fresno Unified School District works closely with National University, offering incentives like stipends to help them pay for school. Fresno Unified is also looking to it's own teachers to help them hire more, telling us they believe everyone is a recruiter.

Cyndy Quintana with Fresno Unified School District, said, "We've been doing this automated email blast to all of our employees because we hire not only teachers but we hire classified and management folks."

An email was pushed out to all Fresno Unified employees encouraging them to help the district find more teachers.

Quintana said, "The university is feeling it. Their numbers are down, as well and that's why we believe that we have to grow our own."

Right now, Fresno Unified is projecting it will need to hire 200 more teachers for next year but it's possible that number will rise. FUSD says it may have more openings for English, Math and Science teachers.

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