MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has less than a month to fill hundreds of positions before the school year starts.
At a job fair on Wednesday, the district is focusing on recruiting operational staff like school nutrition, bus drivers, and custodians.
If teachers are the heart of a school district, operation staff is the blood that keeps it pumping.
“Operations is what makes the school go and you have these buildings that to make sure they maintain pretty well," Jabar Duncan, the CMS Operations Director of Transportation, said. "We have to get kids to and from school, we have ACs that we make sure we're keeping our buildings cool.”
There’s also flexibility in the workload of operational staff.
“Maybe the mornings don't work for you," Duncan said. "Maybe afternoons don't work for you. Sometimes we have employees that come in and just work in the morning and they go to their full-time job."
They’re facing a battle but are hoping people in the community respond to the call for jobs.
“Post pandemic, you know, the time's here, everybody's having staffing shortages everywhere," Duncan said.
The district has touted recruitment bonuses, training and hiring bonuses to attract not only operational staff but teachers.
CMS is trying to fill around 400 teaching positions before Aug. 29 when the new school year starts. The challenges to filling these positions go past pay and qualifications.
"I do think last year was really demoralizing for a lot of staff," CMS Board Chair Elyse Dashew said.
Teachers dealt with post-virtual learning, masking protests and controversy over what students were learning in classrooms.
“Teachers felt it that, you know, 'I'm being accused of brainwashing children, when at the same time, you know, I'm having a hard time even getting them to behave in the classroom,'" Dashew said. "'So how can I be brainwashing?'"
The district, like other job sectors, hasn’t been able to fully rebound from the shortage of workers the pandemic created.
Wednesday's career fair will take place at Philip O. Berry Academy of Technology from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The following departments will be present:
- After School Enrichment Program (ASEP)
- Building Services
- Custodial Services
- Environment, Safety and Risk Management
- School Nutrition Services