One of Bay County's largest employers looking to hire

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - One of the largest employers in Bay County is hiring. Bay District Schools need to fill almost 150 positions, preferably by the start of school.

At Wednesday's job fair, school leaders will be seeking support personnel, the glue they say holds the system together.

"Candidates could leave with a job at that job fair," said Shirley Baker, the district’s coordinator for teacher quality and development.

About 100 of the open positions are the non-teaching positions that include cafeteria staff, clerical staff, bus drivers and paraprofessionals among others.

Baker said at the job fair, they'll even help people apply for jobs.

"Every one of these positions is crucial to the efficient running of the school and we're looking for anyone that is interested in making an impact," Baker said.

Just as crucial to the hiring process are teachers. The district still needs to hire about 50 teachers, and just like the rest of Florida, the district faces a teacher shortage, especially in areas like math, science and special education.

"If we hire you in the science or math positions and you stay for the entire school year then you will get a $5,000 bonus at the end of the school year," Baker said.

"I'm stressing a little bit," said Darnita Rivers, laughing. "But I believe that they will come. It will happen."

In addition to the shortage struggle, Oscar Patterson Elementary Principal Darnita Rivers said it can be even more challenging for Title One schools to hire.

"You get high mobility, you get low socioeconomic so therefore it is a combination," she said. "Teachers are concerned about their teacher evaluation and VAM scores."

Rivers said because of the challenges, teachers sometimes leave to go to schools with higher performing students. But she said, with the unique challenges of Title One schools, come unique responsibilities.

"Because these kids are at a higher risk most times and if you can give them the value of an education," she said, "then it will change it for the generations behind them."

The district will hold its support staff job fair on Wednesday at Jinks Middle School from noon until 4 p.m.