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State Department of Education launches teacher recruitment effort amid statewide shortage

The state of Alabama continues to confront the challenge of developing the next generation of its workforce, and the education community is no exception.

That is why the Alabama State Department of Education says it has kicked off a new teacher recruitment campaign aimed at building the state’s pool of highly-qualified educators.

The campaign will be a long-term advertising and public relations effort targeted toward high school and college students via social media, YouTube, pre-roll, streaming radio and display advertising.

Dr. Eric Mackey, state superintendent of education, explained that the current job market demands an emphasis on recruitment.

“Like many other states, Alabama is experiencing a growing teacher shortage and needs a new focus on the recruitment of new talent to fill an ever-expanding pipeline,” he noted while announcing the campaign. “We need young people who want to make a difference in their community and our state by teaching.”

The department has established WeTeachAlabama.com as a hub for the campaign and information relating to the teaching profession in the Yellowhammer State.

The website is designed to provide how-to and explanatory resources for those considering careers in education, as well as a platform for current teachers to share their own stories and encourage others to pursue teaching as a career path.

“From kindergarten to graduation, our focus is helping prepare students to become more productive citizens through subjects including reading, math and science – and teachers are the key,” Mackey stated. “We must recruit more high-quality teachers to help prepare our state for the future in a high-tech economy. This campaign will encourage young people to answer their calling and join a valued community that makes a difference in countless lives.”

The Department of Education plans to roll out additional resources in the coming months.

“Our intent with all of our collective campaign efforts it to raise perceptions of the teaching profession overall, stressing how vital teachers are to both the input and outcome of public education,” added Mackey. “We want to arm interested students with information to prepare them for life after high school as they make their career choices while instilling knowledge of the importance teachers have on literally every person – and ultimately every other profession.”

Mackey formed the Alabama Teacher Shortage Taskforce in 2019 to better understand the depth of the problems the state was facing in the area of teacher recruitment.

The task force reported that 123 of 144 school districts in Alabama have turned to hiring teachers on emergency or provisional certificates – a majority in rural areas.

Earlier this year, Governor Kay Ivey May signed an increase in the teacher pay scale into law, as well as the Teacher Excellence and Accountability for Mathematics and Sciences (TEAMS) salary schedule program. TEAMS seeks to fill an estimated 3,000 math and science teacher positions with the potential addition of $20,000 in annual pay.

“We want to show those in our state and beyond how much Alabama values its teachers, and that if someone chooses to answer this calling, we will be here to support that person in every way possible,” Mackey concluded. “Teachers are vital to the future of Alabama’s workforce, and so our focus on recruiting this career sector is equally paramount.”

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia