Jacquea Dickson came to register her son for kindergarten.
She left with a job offer.
Dickson was among those attending a District 65 Job Fair at the JEH Education Center Thursday.
Only Dickson did not know about the fair until she went to the building with her son, five-year-old Reignjah Sharpe.
Looking for a job she could balance with going to graduate school, Dickson applied for one of the vacancies and was interviewed on the spot.
With less than one month to go before school starts, the district’s online job board shows that there are 140 openings in a variety of areas, although district spokesperson Melissa Messinger said that some of those jobs have been filled but won’t come off the board until all the paperwork is finished and the person is officially hired.
Most buildings, Messinger said, are “nearly fully staffed, but we’re always looking to hire for hard-to-fill positions.”
District 65 is not alone. It’s a nationwide problem. Hardest-to-fill here are bilingual learning behavior specialist, bilingual social worker, and bilingual speech pathologist positions.
Those are the jobs, Messinger said, that come with a $5,000 signing bonus.
Other areas of need include health services (school nurses), individual educational services (the new name for special education), lunchroom supervisors, and paraprofessionals (teacher aides).
Twenty-three paraprofessional positions, and six special ed paraprofessional positions are still posted.
Messinger said District 65 is “in need of qualified, interesting, and caring individuals” to apply for paraprofessional jobs.
Salary depends on the position, but most paraprofessionals will start at about $25,000 a year plus benefits.
P.J. Killian applied for a paraprofessional job in a middle school.
“I’ve worked as a substitute and as a paraprofessional in summer school,” Killian said, so he’s interested and optimistic.
As for Jacquea Dickson, she’s not certain she’ll accept the job offer. But she adds that she’s “80% there.”