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Early Childhood, K-12 Teacher Shortages Spark New Additions to Region’s High Priority Occupations List

Posted on August 29, 2023

Johnstown, PA (August 29, 2023) – A shortage of staff in child care programs and K-12 schools sparked a change to the region’s High Priority Occupations (HPO) list. New on the list for 2023 are child care worker, preschool teacher, and several categories of teachers for K-12 schools.

This is the first time in many years that these professions have appeared on the HPO list for the Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board region, which is comprised of six counties including Cambria, Somerset, and Bedford. Making the list opens up funding opportunities for job candidates and schools, with the goal of attracting more people to the profession.

“The staffing crisis in child care is having a large impact on our region. When families can’t find care, they are forced to leave the workforce or rely on cobbled together child care arrangements that lead to stress and jeopardize their ability to go to work,” said Leah Spangler, EdD, President and CEO of The Learning Lamp and Ignite Education Solutions.

A 2023 study by Start Strong PA called attention to more than 197 local child care job openings. The worker shortage has created long waiting lists and closed classrooms across the region. Locally, nearly 2,000 children are on child care waiting lists, while 70 child care and preschool classrooms remain closed due to staffing issues. An additional 1,075 local children could be served if child care programs were fully staffed.

Public education is facing a similar crisis. A recent study by Penn State University uncovered a 66 percent drop in newly awarded teaching certificates. School districts across the region are still hiring for positions even with the school year underway. Because of this, some students are going without certified teachers in their classrooms.

In May 2023, The Learning Lamp and Ignite Education Solutions spearheaded an appeal to the Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board to add Child Care Worker, Preschool Teacher, Middle School Teacher, Secondary Teacher, and Special Education Teacher to the HPO list. The purpose of the HPO list is to align workforce training and education investments with occupations that are in demand by employers, have higher skill needs, and are most likely to provide family-sustaining wages.

To learn more about High Priority Occupations in Pennsylvania, visit workstats.dli.pa.gov and click on the High Priority Occupations category. For more information about The Learning Lamp, visit thelearninglamp.org. You can learn more about Ignite Education Solutions at igniteedu.org.

The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high-quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2022, The Learning Lamp served 34,813 youth/adults from 61 public school districts and 70 other schools and organizations in 22 Pennsylvania counties.

Our programs include: child care and preschool, after-school programs, tutoring, SAT prep, school staffing, alternative education programs for at-risk students, online learning, credit recovery, drug and alcohol prevention programs, and grant writing and project consulting for schools.

 

 

 

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8 hours ago
Ready to make a difference in young lives? We are hiring a Child Care Assistant to work at our Center for Children in Richland. Benefits include training, development, career advancement opportunities, and more! EARN A DEGREE FOR FREE! Candidates must have a high school diploma, previous experience working with children, and the ability to pass clearances. Apply online today at http://tiny.cc/4v3avz 

#thelearninglamp #johnstownpa #nowhiring #hiringnow #jobopening