Missouri School District Hires Students in Response to Staffing Shortage

By Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs
Christopher Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Epoch Times.
November 16, 2021 Updated: November 16, 2021

One Missouri school district has resorted to hiring its own high school students in response to ongoing staffing shortages.

The state’s Northwest School District hosted a job fair to address several open positions, according to a local FOX2 Now outlet, ranging from child care assistance to cleaning.

“Some of the positions have been short-staffed since last year,” District Chief Operating Officer Kim Hawk said.

“We just have struggled to find any help at all, and if you drive around and look at the ‘Help Wanted’ signs everywhere, you know the competition is stiff. So, we knew we had to come up with some other plan,” she added.

The chief human resources leader for the district, Mark Catana, also reported the decision was due to the nationwide staffing shortage.

“Prior to COVID we were experiencing a shortage of applicants but the pandemic has made the situation worse,” Catalana told the local outlet.

“The District Mission is that all students will be ‘Respectful, Responsible, Resilient life-long learners ready for success in a complex and ever-changing world,'”Catalana added.

“We feel the opportunity to be employed by the District allows them to stay connected to their school and community as well as provided real life work skills beyond high school,” he added.

The school district also took to Facebook to advertise for the new student worker openings.

The job fair included on-the-spot interviews and noted a student must be 16 or older, or 15 with a work permit. Childcare worker openings were available for those 17 and older before and after school hours. The school reported 25 students applied for the open positions.

The schools also intend to offer transportation to take students from their school to other schools in the district where they may work. The report even added that the school district has received contacts from other school districts interested in starting a similar program.

The Missouri school district is not alone in its staffing shortage. An October survey by the EdWeek Research Center revealed 47 percent of district leaders and principals responded that their current staff shortages were “severe” or “very severe.”

School districts have responded in a variety of ways, as have teachers. In one Alabama school district, four teachers brought a lawsuit against their school district for adding additional responsibilities without additional pay.

In September, Wilmington City Schools in Ohio closed over a school bus driver shortage that led to considering calling up members of the National Guard to drive busses.

This month, Salida School District in Colorado moved to remote learning due to staffing shortages across the district.

Christopher Burroughs reports on breaking news for The Epoch Times.