Job fair scouts for new staff members

For the second consecutive year, Walnut Valley Unified School District welcomed in new staff by hosting a job fair at Diamond Bar High School on July 13. 

After running its first job fair exclusively for substitute teachers in December of last year, the district continues to open up its perimeters. Following the substantial number of retirees over the last couple of years, this year offered a number of teacher positions alongside special education instruction, nutrition and bus-driving services.

“Our special education instructional aides are difficult [to hire],” Dr. Diane Perez, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, said. “People hear it and they think they don’t have the skill set.”

To guide the new workforce past such intimidating factors, the district held job-training sessions over the summer. The special education department continues to develop skills for the hired staff.

“We can help build the acuity of those that might be interested in working with students, although they might be nervous because they don’t know what that looks like,” Perez said.

The fair yielded a successful outcome, with a show of over a couple hundred potential employees and the fulfillment of all open positions. In addition to providing technical aid for setting up work profiles, step-by-step stations were readily arranged to help connect interested employees to the hiring authorities—current employees working in desired positions—and to discuss their experiences.

“If somebody comes in, they don’t know anything about education, other than they heard there’s a job fair,” Perez said. “[Talking to hiring authorities] makes it a little more real for them.”

And just as ABC7 covered last year’s job fair, they returned to gauge this year’s success. Observing the high-energy environment, the news channel reported the event’s competence in filling all hiring positions. 

“I think it’s important for it to be covered on the news, so our community and surrounding communities know that a great school district—a great workplace—like Walnut Valley Unified is hiring,” Perez said.

Because there is a job shortage around the nation’s districts, WVUSD is satisfied with its launch of the school year on a solid start. The district is exempt from the shortage of substitute teachers in particular. 

“We started off the year without a sub shortage. That was a blessing all in itself,” Perez said.

Such success can be attributed to this year’s effort to connect with a broader audience. The outreach was especially heightened by social media apps and communication with parent councils. 

“My passion is equity and diversity, ensuring that everybody gets what they need, when they need it,” Perez said.

Namely, the district’s coordinating councils bring parent representatives from all sixteen schools together in discussion once a month. This collaboration enables the district to continue the spread of news, like the fair, to specific communities.

“I want to find ways to ensure that our students have more people working around them that not only reflect the diversity of our students, but the world,” Perez said. “It’s an opportunity for us as educators to not only model it in who we hire but also to provide them training and support.”