Posted on February 6, 2022

School District Plans to Fly in Immigrants to Fill Jobs, Others May Follow

Alex J. Rouhandeh, Newsweek, February 3, 2022

School districts across the nation face hurdles to filling vacant teacher positions, and the Camden City School District (CCSD) in New Jersey isn’t any different. CCSD has 28 teacher positions that they’ve been unsuccessfully able to fill for months. To rectify this problem, they’re looking to offer employment to immigrants—and other districts may follow suit.

On January 25, the district passed a resolution deciding that they would turn to the H-1B Specialty Occupations visa process to legally fill their empty positions with immigrant teachers. CCSD Superintendent Katrina McCombs told Newsweek that the school faces vacancies every year but that the pandemic has made the situation worse, particularly in the search for teaching positions that require foreign language experience.

“We have challenges with our bilingual teacher positions and our ESL (English as a Second Language) positions. Filling those. These are normally hard to fill positions, but that has been exacerbated by the pandemic,” McCombs said. “This H-1B visa program that we’re launching is just one of the ways that we are trying to make sure that we are wrapping support around our students who are non-native English speakers.”

McCombs said that she has received queries from other districts in the region as well those in other states that have faced similar problems in filling teacher vacancies {snip}

Foreign language teachers were cited as the most challenging to fill positions in a national survey of teachers and principals, with 37 percent of public schools saying filling such roles was “very difficult” or that they “were not able” to find a candidate. {snip}