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Missouri schools are hiring their own students to plug staff shortages, a report says

missouri students working together

By: MARY HANBURY, https://www.businessinsider.in/careers/news/missouri-schools-are-hiring-their-own-students-to-plug-staff-shortages-report-says/articleshow/87628646.cms


A Missouri schools district has a novel solution to the labor crunch.

According to Fox 2 News, schools in this area have decided to hire their own high school students to fill empty jobs.

“We have kids that are very capable and able to hold good jobs in this community and other places of employment,” Dr. Desi Kirchhofer, superintendent of the Northwest School District, told the local news site. “Why wouldn’t we use those resources within our own facilities?”

Fox 2 News said the schools have been on the hunt for cooks and maintenance workers for months but did not specify if these were jobs that students were applying for. Currently, 25 high-schoolers have applied for vacant roles at these schools.

The labor shortage has permeated almost every industry in the US and businesses are struggling to find workers who have been put off by low pay, lack of benefits, and pandemic health concerns among other reasons.

Some are raising wages or offering perks such as free college tuition to attract workers, while others are being forced to shutter because they can’t find enough staff.

Teens have become a more attractive pool of workers for firms seeking to tackle labor shortages. Earlier this summer, teen unemployment rates in the US were at their lowest level since 1953 and the number of teens in work reached the highest rate since 2008, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which was cited by The Wall Street Journal.

While this has slowed down as young workers return to school or college, there’s evidence that business owners are still hiring teens. A Subway and Wing’n It franchisee recently told CBC that he had resorted to hiring 14-year-olds because they were the only ones applying for jobs, for example.

The Missouri schools district COO, Kim Hawk, told Fox 2 News that it has been short-staffed since last year and has struggled to fill these positions.

“If you drive around and look at the help-wanted signs everywhere, you know the competition is stiff. So, we knew we had to come up with some other plan,” she said.

The team is hoping that better hours will be enough to entice young workers that might otherwise take up jobs at fast-food chains with long night, evening, or weekend shifts.