When education majors graduate from Emporia State, will there be jobs for them?
ESU’s Teacher’s College is among the top four in the nation and currently has 145 students in the student teaching phase. These future educators flocked to the Educators Career Fair sponsored by Career Services yesterday in Webb Lecture Hall in hopes of finding job offers.
But of the 59 districts that attended, only four posted a cumulative total of 13 positions that need to be filled on a board in Webb Lecture Lobby. Exact statistics on job listings were unavailable from June Coleman-Hull, director of career services.
Coleman-Hull said the number of districts represented is down from 73 last spring and 105 in the spring of 2008, likely a repercussion of financial hardships facing schools because of state budget cuts.
“Higher education took a big hit and the public schools were starting to see that big hit last year, but people didn’t anticipate another hit again this year, so the number (of districts looking to hire and attending the career fair) has certainly dropped almost in half,” Coleman-Hull said.
The jobs posted were in the fields of Special Education, Music, Math, English, Elementary Education and Science in the districts of Turner, Gardner, Hugoton and for Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative.
“There are much fewer jobs and districts are very tentative about hiring for jobs right now because they’re not completely clear on what their budget is going to look like,” Coleman-Hull said. “Therefore they’re not willing to extend contracts to teachers because the jobs just either may not be there or they aren’t there, so certainly much fewer jobs for our student candidates.”
Kathryn Taylor, assistant superintendent of Chanute Public Schools in Chanute, said that her district is not currently looking to hire. Instead, she hopes that by attending the fair, her district can become more known to students in the future.
Taylor is an ESU alumna, which is one reason she likes to attend the Educators Career Fair at ESU and is why she looks at ESU graduates before considering others, even though her district is located near Pittsburgh State University.
“I’m an alum, and therefore I know the quality of the students that are produced by Emporia State University going out into education,” Taylor said. “I have hired many ESU graduates and have never been let down by the quality of those that I’ve hired.”
Jestin Blake graduated from ESU in December with a degree in elementary education and has not found a permanent teaching job.
“It’s been difficult,” Blake said. “In December, there was one opening for January, but I just went into subbing. I came here because there are different school districts that I wanted to talk to and I felt that it was important just to show my face and to get my name out there to the schools.”
Cruz Jasso of the Emporia school district encouraged future educators to keep an open mind and take a job where they can find one because things will get better in a couple years and then they can pursue the district of their interest.
Coleman-Hall said education students who are preparing for graduation should use their networks and connections to find jobs and market the advantages of hiring a brand new graduate, like current training in their field. She said there may be more job opportunities in the future.
“(The job market for educators) is going to recover in a couple of years,” Coleman-Hull said. “It will not recover fully is my prediction. Students should look into alternatives to classroom teaching and what else they might want to do that allows them to work with kids but not necessarily in the classroom.”