LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – School districts are no different than many businesses facing a worker shortage.
"The people are wonderful, the children are wonderful," Katie Jeter, JeffCo Public Schools Director of Resources said.
Like many districts in the Denver metro area, JeffCo Public Schools is working to fill as many open positions as they can before school starts in a month.
"It's tough right now," Jeter said. She estimated they have close to 100 vacancies — just in food services.
Support staff positions, such as workers in the kitchen, custodial, and transportation, seem to have the greatest shortage of applicants.
"We had older drivers who had fears of underlining health issues, Greg Jackson, JeffCo Exec. Dir. of Transportation said.
Jackson told CBS4 that COVID-19 drove some bus drivers into early retirement. There currently 72 driver openings.
"Buses are not going to pass through some of those areas that they usually do," he explained.
Adjustments have been made, combining some stops, he's also contracted out some routes.
"You get a great retirement, there's also great benefits that you receive, we're guaranteeing folks a base of 30 hours," he said, but added many drivers choose to work 40 hours or more.
The district also provides training for a CDL license.
While some other businesses are offering bonuses and higher pay, unfortunately that's something many school districts can't match at this time.
However, JeffCo Public Schools offers free childcare for kids through elementary school.
"So if you're looking for a way to get out there, be a part of your community, do something that really serves, I think it's a great option," Jeter added.
What happens if there are not enough people? Jackson and Jeter told CBS4, they'll find a way, with some managers potentially having to take on extras duties, at least temporarily.
To see all the job openings, visit: https://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/employment/jobs
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