Schools across the country are dealing with staffing shortages. In fact, 93 of 100 large and urban school districts reported staffing shortages in the 2021-2022 school year, according to the Center on Reinventing Public Education.

Those of us in the K-12 facilities management industry know how rewarding it can be to work in schools—not only in the work itself but also in the long-term career benefits and growth opportunities. So, what can we do to combat the staffing shortage issue? Here are a few ideas:

Staffing shortage tips for K-12 schools:

  • Recruit by today’s standards: Getting the attention of the new, young workforce means meeting them where they’re at. Be present on online job boards, list open positions on your district or school website, and share jobs on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
  • Provide clear pathways: Not everyone knows how to get their foot in the door or what type of potential a career might have ten years down the line. Establish that career path via an internship program or an entry-level position that provides training or additional certifications and education. Be sure to outline potential career growth opportunities to existing staff as well to ensure retention.
  • Offer additional incentives: While a higher salary may not be feasible, you can find other ways to incentivize workers and make your open positions more appealing. Depending on the job, you may consider providing seasonal bonuses, additional vacation time, or compensation for work boots or other equipment.
  • Contact students: To connect with the incoming workforce, try getting in front of them while they haven’t yet developed a concrete course for their future. Explain the benefits of trade schools at high school speaking engagements and participate in job fairs at trade schools and colleges.
  • Increase team efficiency: Working from a dated day-to-day operations system can be disheartening. Create an appealing workplace by modernizing your systems and making the experience one that employees find efficient and supportive. Consider school facilities management software solution to bolster school operations and strengthen staff support.
  • Connect with retirees: Not all retirees are ready to cut out work entirely. Consider contacting your trusted retirees and hiring them back in, either full-time or part-time. Or, you might implement a partnership system where retirees, or soon-to-be-retirees, partner with new hires to share their invaluable knowledge.

These ideas could serve as a good starting point for those looking to make their open positions more appealing to the workforce at large. Also, consider your area or community and tailor your strategies. Is your community center hosting a local job or career growth workshop you can attend? Or perhaps you can work with other local high schools or schools within your district to participate in enrichment programs for students interested in furthering their work experience for school credit.

As challenging as this staffing shortage has been, we know it’s something schools are dealing with nationwide. Let’s put our heads together and see what we can do to help one another as we solve this problem. Join us for our upcoming FMX Roundtable: How to Tackle the K-12 Operations Staffing Crisis to discover helpful resources and get in touch with other K-12 leaders to see how they combat this issue.

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