At a Glance
The Berks Career and Technology Center has implemented several recruitment practices over the years to successfully attract and retain Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers. Recently, the compiled recruitment strategy analytics have been added to the annual data collection for use in the Human Resources Office. The data identifies the most effective means of recruiting career and technical teachers and is used to deploy efficient use of time and resources. While BCTC has an excellent history and has support systems in place for retaining CTE teachers, the focus of this best practice is on the recruitment strategies- those that work well and those that are not very fruitful. As quoted by BCTC Human Resources Director, Michalene Berg, “Be open to trying new strategies; if it doesn’t work, then try another- in the long run, we have found that persistence pays off”.
The Berks Career and Technology Center lives by the standard of continuous improvement. The time spent on human resources is no exception. Annually the human resources staff compiles data on the recruitment strategies that applicants utilize. This process yields results that translate into time and resources, both which are valuable assets to a school system. Between July 1, 2021, and April 25, 2022, the BCTC Human Resources department filled forty-five new and current position vacancies. Three were administrative positions, twelve were continuing education positions, eight were CTE teacher positions (one was newly created, one retirement and one due to an unexpected death of a teacher), fifteen were support staff, two were transfers, and five were new substitute teachers. The good news is, leading into 2022-2023, there are no professional staff vacancies, and if there were vacancies, the plan for effective recruitment strategies is in place. The process of analyzing the effectiveness of strategies and trying new approaches is ongoing. BCTC is fortunate to have a director of human resources as well as an employee benefits specialist who take on the primary human resources functions of the school. They advertise positions, process applications, set up and conduct interviews, process employment contracts, arrange for onboarding, initiate the induction program, and provide a one-stop shop for candidates and successful applicants and employees.
The biggest response by far was by advertising through Indeed and Monster. It is worth the extra cost to “boost the ad”. If Indeed is used, the ad automatically is posted on Glassdoor and Simply Hire at no additional cost. Glassdoor and Simply Hire are online recruiting platforms like Indeed.
Traditional newspapers no longer yield results and are quite expensive. Word of mouth is still a highly effective means of advertising positions. BCTC has banners made and posts them in strategic locations. The banners have yielded positive responses. PACTA is effective for posting positions, especially administrative positions. PASBO is effective for posting business and office administrative positions. The school’s website was refreshed to be more user-friendly. The goal was to utilize the website to depict BCTC as a great place to work. The “Day in a Life of a CTE Teacher” video was redone and uploaded to the applicant list of materials. The applicant resources list was also updated (BCTC uses Frontline for all applications). Advertising on local radio stations did not yield positive results. Social media was also used with some positive results. Future plans include advertising at the minor league ballpark, movie theaters, LinkedIn, and K-12 Job Spots. In order to promote equity and equal access, BCTC advertises at the Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Center, Career Link, and on veteran resources. Additionally, BCTC advertises through trade organizations specific to the posted position vacancy. BCTC is also considering offering a referral stipend to employees that refer a successful candidate.
Securing qualified career and technical teachers is a challenging reality. In addition to the recruitment strategies, BCTC has developed an extensive support system to provide a warm, caring, and nurturing school environment. New CTE teachers are paired with a mentor teacher as well as an instructional coach and a technology integration coach. The mentoring program is a three-year program designed to deliver content when it is prudent to do so rather than all at once as was done several years ago. The mentoring program starts with more intensity, then calms down into years two and three. The instructional coach and technology integration coach work with the CTE teachers to ensure their success in the classroom. The campus administrators also provide ongoing communications with the CTE teachers and are visible both in the classroom/labs and around the campus. One-on-one meetings are held formally three times per year with the campus administrator and the CTE teacher where data collection and direct conversations are used to create the carting environment. Additionally, all staff participate in an annual school climate survey in the fourth quarter of the school year where they have an opportunity to reflect on the school year. These systems are designed to better connect the staff and to create a relationship where staff are valued and less likely to leave. The human resources department is funded through the general fund. The recruitment strategies are tracked to know how to effectively deploy resources.
The human resources department is funded through the general fund. Recruitment strategies are tracked to know how to effectively deploy resources. Between July 2021 to April 2022, BCTC had forty-five new employees. Eight were key instructor positions and three were administrative positions. Twelve were adult education instructors, and the remainder were support staff positions. The newly implemented strategies were successful except for the radio ads. Feel free to contact Michalene Berg, HR Director, for details regarding the recruitment strategies utilized at BCTC. A user group of staff involved with securing career and technical staff members may be suggested to be formed to disseminate promising practices in addition to those shared through the CTE Resources.