Demand for tech teachers rises in Clark County amid national shortage


A shortage exists of qualified career and technical education teachers nationwide, according to a new report, even as demand for qualified educators is increasing, including in Clark County.

Educational leaders in Clark County said the shortage isn’t as pressing in this region, although some positions are harder to attract because potential applicants can often earn more money by remaining in their technical field.

MORE BUSINESS NEWS: Navistar to break ground on $12M distribution center

The issue is important as some industries face shortages of trained workers and schools push students to explore local careers earlier, said Ashleigh McFadden, state policy manager for Advance Career and Technical Education.

The agency is a nonprofit that represents state leaders responsible for secondary, post-secondary and adult career technical education. Technical educators teach in a variety of fields, ranging from agriculture to cyber security and automotive technology.

“We’re in a place where budgets are only going to get tighter and there are going to be more and more demands on teachers and schools,” McFadden said. “The big message is to think beyond the traditional methods of getting industry experts into the classroom.”

Information from the Ohio Department of Education showed as recently as 2014, Ohio had more than 120,300 career tech students, about 22 percent of students in high school statewide.

Nationally the shortage of technical teachers is part of an overall shortage of teachers in general, McFadden said. However schools often face additional challenges to attract and retain qualified technical educators, she said.

DETAILS: Clark State hires retired Wright-Patt commander as vice president

The number of technical-specific teacher preparation programs nationwide was slashed 11 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to the Advance CTE report. It has continued to decline in part due to less interest in teaching as a profession, the report says. 

“Meanwhile, schools across the country are struggling to manage the wave of teachers preparing for retirement,” the report says.

Schools and other entities are also working to expose students to a variety of career fields long before graduation as well. Exposing students to career and tech courses early on can help students determine what career’s they are interested in, McFadden said. The Chamber of Greater Springfield has organized a career fair for area eighth-graders for the past several years to expose students from fields ranging from agriculture to manufacturing and health care.

READ MORE: Looking for a job? Check out big Clark County job fair this month

The challenge isn’t as acute in Clark County, said Rick Smith, superintendent at the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center. The CTC provides courses both in traditional fields like English and science, as well as carpentry, animal science and engineering.

The CTC employs 34 career and tech teachers and 16 academic teachers. The school has had little turnover among its career tech staff over the years, which Smith said has been helpful. The biggest challenge, he said, is that skilled workers in many career fields often earn more than they would in education.

“While we may get 25 candidates for a regular educational teaching position, we usually get a quarter of that for an open career tech teaching position,” Smith said.

In one recent case, Smith said the CTC received only six applications for an open position, but all six candidates were highly qualified so it was still a good fit.

RELATED: SBDC exec to place more emphasis on existing businesses 

Districts are allowed to hire technical teachers who haven’t completed a teacher preparation program, as long as the candidate has a high school diploma, can prove at least five years of full-time work experience in the field and completes an approved pre-service career-technical education program. It takes a special person to teach career tech because it can be demanding, Smith said.

“It’s tougher for instructors in career tech because they didn’t get into their career field to get into teaching,” Smith said.

To address the national shortage of CTE teachers, the Advance CTE report recommends states coordinate a variety of policies. That could include working more closely with employers and developing programs that allow industry experts to serve in non-instructional roles for students, including mentors and coaches.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Shutdown nixes Trump visit to Mar-a-Lago; party goes on with son Eric headlining
Shutdown nixes Trump visit to Mar-a-Lago; party goes on with son Eric headlining

The federal government shutdown led President Donald Trump to cancel plans to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office at a $100,000-per-couple fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday. As of Saturday evening, the fundraiser was still set to go on with presidential son Eric Trump and his wife, Lara Trump, and Republican National...
Shutdown: Uncertainty plagues civil servants, WPAFB workers, businesses
Shutdown: Uncertainty plagues civil servants, WPAFB workers, businesses

Employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will report to work on Monday for further instructions. On Main Street in downtown Fairborn Saturday night there were a lot of questions about the partial shutdown, from workers who may be at risk of furlough to businesses those workers visit. “It’s definitely uncertainty,” Casey Hudson...
Girl, 9, unknowingly hands out THC-laced candy to classmates, school says
Girl, 9, unknowingly hands out THC-laced candy to classmates, school says

A 9-year-old girl unwittingly ate, and handed out to other classmates, THC-laced candy, school officials said.  The girl brought the candies to school last Thursday and said she could not see; another girl ate them and started to feel dizzy, Albuquerque School of Excellence Dean of Elementary School Students Kristy Del Curto told KRQE. ...
Man shot in leg during drug deal outside Walmart, police say
Man shot in leg during drug deal outside Walmart, police say

Police are looking for the suspect who shot a man during a drug deal around 3 p.m. Saturday in a Walmart parking lot. According to Sgt. Brandon McCroskey of the Fairfield Township police, the suspect shot the victim in the leg during a drug deal while the victim was in his vehicle. The victim then accelerated his vehicle and struck other vehicles and...
Jim Rodford, bassist for The Kinks, dead at 76
Jim Rodford, bassist for The Kinks, dead at 76

Jim Rodford, bassist for popular rock band The Kinks from 1978 to 1996, has died at 76, according to the band. The Kinks, whose hits include “You Really Got Me,” “Lola,” “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” “A Well-Respected Man,” “Victoria” and “Waterloo Sunset,” made the announcement...
More Stories