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School districts are looking to fill more positions this year than in years' past

COVID-19 caused disruptions in employment
North Kansas City Schools job fair
Posted at 5:29 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 19:22:49-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Some Kansas City school districts are finding they have more open positions this year compared to last year, and they need to make them as attractive as possible for people looking to re-enter the workforce or switch jobs.

Classes start in just a few weeks.

"We are looking for fun, energetic folks," Jenni Gaddie said, assistant superintendent of human resources for the North Kansas City School District.

The NKC school district held a job fair Thursday morning to fill positions for paraprofessionals, transportation, nutrition services and child care. Those interested in being a paraprofessional need 60 hours of college credit or they can take the Praxis Parapro Assessment Test, and the district will provide all the training from there.

Sara Meyers came to the event looking for a better job with her 14 years of experience in food nutrition services.

"I am a single mom of two, so it would help me out a lot," Meyers said.

LaToi-ya Camareno is getting back into the workforce after 10 years.

Both women are interested in North Kansas City because their kids go to school in the district.

"Anything that kind of kept me in the area, in the school district I thought would be helpful, that way my time would be on the kids' time, and when they're off, I'm off," Camareno said.

Camareno got a job on the spot.

"I'm so excited that I'll be able to be available for my children, and we'll be on the same schedule," Camareno said. "I'm ecstatic."

Gaddie said this time of year is the district's normal hiring season and openings are comparable to this time last year.

"As COVID has had an impact on all of us, I can't say that it has been detrimental to our hiring process by any means," Gaddie said.

Many districts, including Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools and Blue Valley School District, have a long list of positions to fill because of the pandemic and the disruptions it caused.

"That has allowed us and allowed employees to really evaluate, where are my career opportunities? What do I really want to do with my career?" Cynthia Fulks said, the assistant director of HR at KCKPS.

KCKPS lists 128 open certified positions on their website, including about 50 teacher positions, along with 27 paraprofessional openings and 7 jobs in nutritional services. The district also needs ESL, English as a Second Language, teachers and aides.

"Even if you don't have college credits, we actually offer a free assessment that'll allow you to get in the classroom as an assistant to the teachers," Fulks said. "We're willing to pay for their tuition if they desire to go back and become a teacher."

KCKPS also offers commercial driver's license training for those interested in driving a school bus.

The district recently hosted two job fairs and will hold another job fair on Wed. July 28 at Gloria Willis Middle School from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.