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Hiring fair kicks off amid unprecedented substitute teacher shortage, 600 job openings

Organizers said there were more than 600 job positions open and about 750 job hunters pre-registered for the SD County Office of Education job fair on Saturday.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A hiring fair kicked off in Point Loma amid an unprecedented substitute teacher shortage. Organizers say there are more than 600 job positions open and about 750 job hunters pre-registered for the San Diego County Office of Education job fair on Saturday.

Letcia Rocha has focused on being a stay-at-home mom.

"I'm not working. I have 2 kids and I'm phasing out of babyhood and toddlerhood and I'm ready to get out there and work," said Rocha.

She and hundreds of others lined up at the Liberty Station Conference Center for the SDUSD job fair on Saturday.

Job seekers visited 29 booths offering jobs ranging from after-school program staff, maintenance workers, bus drivers, campus supervisors, nurses and children nutrition assistants. 

There were also several rooms for on-spot interviews to take place.

"It’s been pretty exciting. Every booth has a different set of opportunities. I met a lot of helpful people. I'm excited to get job applications in," said Rocha.

Executive Director for Human Resources for the San Diego County Office of Education, Sheiveh Jones explained the reasoning for the sudden amount of job openings.

"COVID is one of the biggest reasons for the openings and on top of that you have a third of the teaching population in retirement age nationwide," said Jones. "We have anticipated a shortage for 10 years and the shortage is here and COVID just made that a little worse and made it happen quicker."

Due to the shortage, she says they no longer have the pool of substitute teachers like they once did.

Now, 42 districts and 120 charter schools in San Diego County are ready to employ the best of the best.

"We have a few that have already come away with a job offer," said Jones.

Their next job fair will be held in March. For now, Rocha hopes to find the job of her dreams.

"This has me pretty excited! I'm eager. There are a lot to choose from and I'm open to seeing what benefits my family best. There are different districts and I have to do a little homework, but there is an opportunity waiting for me," said Rocha.

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