A Look at the Specialists and Recruiting Push behind the Return to Full-time School
The Coronavirus Pandemic has taught the world many lessons, including how essential in-person K-12 schooling is to the healthy functioning of the U.S. economy and workforce. As Axios reported this February, economists predict that the past year will deliver a $14 to $28 trillion long-term blow to the economy “due to coronavirus-induced learning loss.” The need for childcare and remote schooling support at home has forced millions of parents out of the labor force and become a hot-button issue for every state government and school board across the country.
With urgency, schools and districts nationwide are working to bring students back full-time. That work, they are finding, includes a substantial and sophisticated new recruiting element.
Opening Up by Staffing Up
As local governments and schools oversee the return of students, a mini hiring boom is underway, and it is not just teachers who are in demand. In fact, the candidates who schools and districts are looking for represent an entirely new set of workers with roles born of the pandemic. Who are they? Over the last several months, Employment Enterprises has been helping schools recruit for and fill the following roles:
- Health mitigation professionals – These are workers who monitor school spaces, such as hallways, cafeterias, etc. Their job is to ensure student compliance with COVID safety rules, such as social distancing and mask wearing.
- Classroom monitors – These classroom helpers support students with technology needs and manage the safety protocols inside the classroom.
- Isolation monitors – Giving school nursing teams added hands in maintaining quarantine and isolation rules, these monitors oversee sick students who have been placed in temporary isolation until they are picked up.
Tackling the Totally Unknown with Rapid Surge Hiring
If taking schools fully remote was a big, unprecedented unknown, you would think re-opening might be easier. Or, at least somewhat familiar. Instead, with concerns for student, teacher, and staff safety still soaring, schools are finding themselves facing never-before-seen challenges once again. The public push from parents, governors, and even the U.S. President to get kids back in classrooms has increased the pressure on districts to move quickly to reopen as they face crowd management and mitigation risks in every hallway, classroom, gym, and cafeteria.
The schools reaching out to Employment Enterprises for recruitment support all say the same things: 1. We do not know where to start to make these critical hires, and 2. we have no time to lose to put the support staff in place to reopen safely. While school systems and districts have processes in place for hiring the teaching, administration, and staff jobs they know, they are finding that recruiting safety monitors is not easy, even in regions with high unemployment. The substantial numbers of candidates needed along with stringent vetting requirements make today’s educational hiring boom a challenge best conquered with a methodical surge recruitment strategy.
A Stand-Up Model for Surge Recruitment
2021, like most of 2020, has required rapid recruitment adaptation for the Employment Enterprises client base, and the education sector has moved to the top of the transformation priority list. “Businesses and government leaders are seeing that local economies cannot fight their way back without having schools open in person,” said Pauline Tomko, Senior Vice President of Employment Enterprises. “School districts are finding themselves in need of not only the practiced sourcing, assessment, and placement support recruitment and staffing firms can provide, but also the rigid compliance expertise needed to process and verify talent for school environments.”
To move with the speed the education sector requires, Employment Enterprises has adapted its proven surge recruiting model. Typically used to rapidly fill high-volume roles for government contractors and hospitality industry clients, surge recruiting provides a stand-up, accelerated candidate delivery model for school districts and systems. All the core processes of good surge recruitment programs are in place—custom marketing, rapid recruitment, interviewing, assessment, background check/validation, and onboarding—while specialized elements have been added, such as:
- Project Management – Dedicated project managers or other coordinators to help organize and oversee the surge recruiting program across multiple schools and/or districts.
- Health Department POC Communications – Establishing points of contact (POC) for managing communication and reporting when it comes to following local and state health departments re-opening requirements.
- Medical Testing – Overseeing the scheduling and verification of medical tests, such as tuberculosis, required from district to district.
- CPS Verification – Managing any Children and Protective Services checks and reporting.
- Fingerprinting – Identifying and managing approved partners to oversee fingerprinting and verification where it is required.
- Notary Services – Partnering with in-person and digital notary services to have tests, background checks, and other critical documentation notarized.
An Acceleration & Volume Boost
Educational hiring surges are also well served by a dedicated team of recruiters. By pulling in the specialized speed and coordination skills of dedicated contract recruiters, school districts gain a much-needed sourcing acceleration and volume boost.
“In the months we have been supporting school districts in their reopening push, we have seen the volume required to hire for these new health monitoring and mitigation roles. It can take 400 to 500 interviews to fill 100 roles due to the specific vetting requirements of the jobs,” said Colleen Clokus, COO for Employment Enterprises. “Dedicated contract recruiters were made for this kind of work in which high-volume demands and tight timeframes require a different engagement approach than in-house teams would take. Dedicated recruiters are trained and skilled in moving at a quicker pace and adapting their strategies with changing skill set needs. It’s the most adaptive form of recruiting there is.”
Education Is a Leading Indicator
The push to get schools back to fuller operation signals that more industries will likely expand or adapt their operations. Whether that means changing where employees work, rehiring talent, or bringing on specialists to support pandemic safety measures, flexibility, speed, and creativity will be the keys to success for any organization. COVID has not stopped altering the employment landscape but the right recruiting approach and recruiters will ensure schools and businesses keep pace with the changes.