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Teacher shortage doesn’t stop Educare of Omaha from appreciating educators

  • The video shows Educare of Omaha at Kellom, UNO and Bennington Highschool.
  • Educare of Omaha in Kellom is honoring teachers during recognition week while looking for ways to recruit college graduates.
  • Studies show that in Nebraska, the lack of child care and early learning options primarily affects the economy.
  • 74% of respondents say not having access to child care makes it more difficult for Nebraska businesses to hire new employees and expand.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Studies show there is a nationwide teacher shortage. An early learning center in north Omaha is looking to make teachers feel appreciated.

“I love children. I love my colleagues, but I really love children. I like to see the journey from start to finish,” Dodds said.

Theressa Dodds has been in the industry for 20 years.

“I started as a high school student and teacher, then a cooperating teacher and also worked on my bachelor’s degrees,” Dodds said.

Dodds says this work is her calling and she hopes to make a difference for many children.

“The price is definitely not the salary in this field, but the salary is that you won’t do that,”

Dawn Olijnek, director of development at Omaha Educare Omaha, says this week is all about appreciating teachers through lunches, goody bags, coffee trucks and written letters from parents.

“Appreciate them every day of the year. It’s through the interactions with each other. It’s a kid waving at you, you know every staff member down the hall,” said Olijnek.

Olijnek says with early education…having a high turnover rate…they are always looking to recruit.

“It’s a paid internship where they experience what a classroom is like, and are paired with an experienced professor to coach and teach them along the way,” Olijnek said.

Statistics show that at UNO, students are still interested in becoming educators despite the low salaries and challenges. This spring, in total, UNO has 224 graduate students in education. That’s compared to 208 for the 2019-2020 school year.

Bennington Public Schools is also looking to recruit new teachers, including through special programs. Stacy Hawn tells me, “Whether they’re a brand new college grad or a seasoned teacher who just changed jobs and became Bennington…our mentor/mentee program…we really have difficult to build this program.

Studies show that in Nebraska, the lack of child care and early learning options primarily affects the economy. 74% of respondents say not having access to child care makes it more difficult for Nebraska businesses to hire new employees and expand.