UCPS is looking to hire dozens of new employees

UNION COUNTY, NC — Union County Public Schools will host a job fair on Wednesday to fill dozens of much-needed positions in the district.

The fair will run from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the UCPS Transportation Center on Goldmine Road in Monroe.

The 53 public schools, which educate about 41,500 students, need candidates to fill positions in food service, transportation, child care, facilities, after-school programs and to serve as substitute teachers.

What do you want to know

UCPS is looking to fill dozens of open jobs in a variety of services with a job fair on Wednesday

Daycare director says he needs to fill 58 vacancies

Public schools in Union County and other counties have implemented raises, bonuses and other incentives during the pandemic in an effort to keep staff

The district’s online application portal lists hundreds of vacancies, but those include teaching roles, which is not the focus of Wednesday’s job fair.

District custodial officer Juan Fernandez said he needs to fill 58 full-time positions on his custodial teams at schools in the district.

Compared to pre-COVID-19 years, Fernandez said the need for candidates has increased fivefold. Fernandez, who started as a goalkeeper in 2008, took over as manager in 2018. In 2018 and 2019, he said it was more common to have five to 10 positions open each summer, not all 58 current.

“The pandemic changed everything, because a lot of people… we lost a lot of people in retirement. A lot of people were, I guess they freaked out. They left for other trades. He has changed a lot. When the pandemic started, we started having… the vacancy rate jumped,” Fernandez said.

Despite the challenges of hiring in the pandemic, Fernandez said the job is a good opportunity for advancement, benefits and a friendly schedule.

” I appreciated. It’s a good schedule, it’s Monday to Friday. You have weekends for the family. When I started I had little kids,” Fernandez said. “It’s flexible because you also have time for your family.”

The various roles within the child care service are full-time positions and generally evening positions starting at $15 per hour with no experience. Fernandez added shifts usually starting at 1 or 2 p.m., depending on the school, and ending at 9:30 p.m. or 10:30 p.m.

At Marvin Ridge Elementary School, Principal Custodian Scotty Little said the daily shift was spent keeping hallways and classrooms clean for students and staff.

“It provides a clean and safe environment for children to learn, and I love working here because it has given me insight – keeping me up to date with what is going on with the young children of the day, what is taught our students,” Little said. while taking a break to clean the hallway floor.

Little spent a decade cleaning the halls of Marvin Ridge Middle, the first and only school he worked at in the county.

“I was working and I was… I can say fired, but they closed Sears. Closed, and I came here. A friend of mine recommended that I come and work here,” recalls Little.

He, like Fernandez, started out as a caretaker, helping clean windows, vacuum floors and empty trash cans to keep classrooms tidy.

Ten years later, he oversees a small team of caretakers at the school and says he appreciates it and has no plans to move closer to his home in Monroe.

“Promotions have been pretty quick if you come to work, do what you’re supposed to do and mind your own business, you’ll get a promotion. Advancements, in terms of promotions and salaries, over the past year we have had many bonuses and salaries. So that’s… I really appreciate it,” Little said.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts across the state have grappled with decisions about raises, bonuses and incentives to retain uncertified staff members. In Union County, the UCPS School Board has already approved raises for staff like school bus drivers and food service workers and also provided retention bonuses during the school year. Other counties, including Mecklenburg, Stanly and Buncombe, have taken similar action.

“Well it’s good benefits, it’s a great career, movement. You can work 20-25 years and retire. Get a chance to meet new people, new teachers and learn. I learn as the kids learn,” added Little.

And, Little said if you’re a parent like him, there’s a good chance you have a front row seat to what your kids and their friends are going through every school day.

This isn’t the first time UCPS has held job fairs to fill uncertified positions during the pandemic. Prior to last school year, he hosted an event to hire much-needed transportation workers. However, the district still had to make several changes to the bus schedule to cover the shortages.

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