Labor shortage prompts unusual call for applicants

Battle urges community to fill jobs in District 191 

School District 191 is now hiring, or at least it would like to be.

The national labor shortage has left the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district short of employees, leading Superintendent Theresa Battle to issue an unusual call for applicants during the Nov. 10 School Board meeting.

As of that day, she said, the district had openings for 14 teachers and other licensed positions such as dean and psychologist, 13 educational assistants and six food service workers. The district also had openings in clerical, custodial and Community Education positions, she said.

“It is not unusual to have a few open positions all year round, but this is more than usual by quite a few,” Battle said.

Board Member Anna Werb, who works in the employee benefits field, said effects of the “Great Resignation” are widespread.

“I’m feeling the pain myself,” she said. “I’m trying to get my daughter into pre-K care and they don’t have enough staff. We’re all impacted.”

Battle described extra steps the district is taking to woo applicants.

“Knowing that we likely have many parents for whom a part-time, school-day position might work well, we’re especially reaching out to them,” she said. “We’re running ads on social media, which have garnered more than 130 clicks through the first week. Principals are including requests in their e-newsletter, and in fact I had one principal tell me a grandmother called and was interested and we hired her for food service.

“We even have ads running on the city of Burnsville’s billboards on 35W and Highway 77 throughout November. We are also increasing the daily pay for substitute teachers and educational assistants who work on Mondays and Fridays, as well as bonuses for substitute teachers for every 20 days of work as they work for the district.”

Word-of-mouth is one of the best recruiting tools, she said, urging people to talk to their neighbors about the job opportunities.

“These are positions where you know you will have a meaningful and positive impact on children’s lives, and an organization where you will be valued,” Battle said.

Information on available positions is on the district website, www.isd191.org, she said.

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