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Dubuque school district goes on the road to try and fill open positions before start of school year

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:37 AM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Jeff Lenhart currently works at the Dubuque Rescue Mission, but before that, he worked as a paraprofessional with the Dubuque Community School District. That job, he said, allowed him to positively impact students.

“When a student needs help we can be that extra support,” he mentioned. “Paras can help them feel more welcomed and feel like they are not alone, that we are here to help them succeed in the best way we can.”

That positive impact, though, according to Amy Hawkins, the district’s chief human resources officer, might not be as widespread this year.

”I would say, compared to past years, we are definitely on the lookout for some more staff members,” she said.

Despite being only weeks out from the start of the school year, Hawkins said it has plenty of opening: bus drivers, food service staff and, especially, paraprofessionals. Currently the district is looking for around 20 paraprofessionals.

”We had some of our staff leave us due to the pandemic, and so filling up those jobs has been a little bit harder than in the past,” she mentioned.

That is why district leaders decided to get out, throughout the district, to find people.

“Sitting here is not going get us people to come work for us, so we have been doing the mobile bus fair and registration bus, which has been fantastic,” she said. “We are going down to different areas in the community to try to find employees and people who are excited to work for the school district.”

The mobile bus fair is stopping at several parks in the city. Human resources staff will take applications and conduct on-the-spot interviews.

Even though Hawkins said they are not too concerned right now, she mentioned they want to be proactive to avoid any inconveniences. A lack of staff could force the district, for example, to change bus routes or food service offerings.

”We need to make sure that we get kids to school, we need to make sure that they have meals and then, obviously, make sure that they get a good education while they are here,” she added.

The mobile bus fair will be stopping at the following locations:

  • Flora Park: Friday, July 30, from 1-3 p.m.
  • Heritage Pond: Monday, August 2, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Murphy Park: Tuesday, August 3, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

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