GOLDEN, Colo. — Jefferson County is in quite the predicament with school only 10 days away and hundreds of vacant positions to fill.
The district held its final in-person job fair of the summer to fill some of those spots.
Currently, Jefferson County Schools have 312 positions open. That number is about double the openings they would normally have in given year.
"We are getting real close, and we still need a lot of drivers," said Danielle Parham, a secretary for JeffCo transportation.
The greatest need for the district is for paraprofessionals, employees who support for students and staff in a variety of ways. There are still 92 of these openings.
Their are also eight opening for nurses, a job that is required by the state to be filled. A spokesperson for the county says this is the most nursing positions they've ever had to fill so close to school starting.
A job not far behind, and perhaps one of the most crucial right now: bus drivers and driver assistants.
"With that shortage, we would be looking at pulling stops and have students go to a certain location instead of the regular stops or eliminating stops all together," Parham said.
The county still needs to fill 63 busing positions. Miguel Rodriguez is applying for one of them.
"We live in the county, so our kids go to school here, and so just to help out as much as I can," Rodriguez said. "I usually work nights, so that would be helpful during the day, just to give back to the community, really."
Anita Koopman was the first to show up to Friday’s job fair. With 15 years of experience in Food and Nutrition Services, she’s hoping to get back to doing what she enjoys: helping students.
"It’s very rewarding knowing you’re giving something to the kids that they really need," Koopman said.
"Our greatest need is hourly workers, substitute workers to come in and prep food, cook food and a serve food and then clean up and go home," said Director of Resources for Food and Nutrition Services Katie Jeter.
With 72 positions to fill by Aug. 17, Jeter knows they will have to get creative, even if that means pulling workers from fully-staffed schools into areas where the district is shorthanded.
Jeter believes unemployment benefits, COVID-19 concerns and mask mandates could all be contributing factors to the low turnout this year.
If you'd like to apply for a job in the JeffCo school system, click here.