Nationwide substitute shortage is not affecting Wiregrass schools

WIREGRASS (WDHN) — Kelly Services, an employment agency that works with the HR departments in school systems to help fill teacher vacancies, is seeing a shortage of teachers overall.

“We see so many leaving the profession and then we don’t have so many coming in from the colleges,” Adam Lavender said.

This is causing an effect on substitute teachers — their roles have shifted from short-term to long-term.

With those teachers having to teach long-term, Kelly Services has to enhance its recruiting standards.

“We are searching for more qualified ones or maybe they want to become a teacher, so those are the ones we are working with to fill their normal roles,” Lavender said.

Nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand has traditionally exceeded the supply for substitute teachers — over 20 percent of requests for fill-ins have gone unfilled.

But here in the Wiregrass, they are not seeing much of a problem

“The goal is to main a substitute pool because I guarantee you’re not hearing about classes going to their gym because they don’t have a teacher,” He said.

But Lavender did say they do see areas around the country affected in that way due to economic issues.

Some of the school systems here have permanent subs to alleviate last-minute absences. Lavender says one of the main things they do is make those teachers feel appreciated despite their schedule.

“We do substitute appreciation and awards across all of our districts,” He added.

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