On March 1, Muskingum University, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, hosted a collaborative meeting focused on the creation of a teacher apprenticeship program in Ohio to address the shortage of qualified teachers in the Muskingum/Ohio Valley region.
“We are exploring a new possibility for nurturing the love of teaching among aspiring educators and providing the means to gain experience, serve local districts, and complete the full requirements of teacher licensure in Ohio while being supported financially,” said Muskingum University Provost Nancy Evangelista.
More than 50 representatives from Southeast Ohio school districts, educational service centers and workforce development agencies attended to discuss how to implement an apprenticeship program in their local communities.
According to Tim Slekar, chair of the Education Department at Muskingum, apprenticeship programs reduce the cost for individuals wanting to become teachers, reduce the time to obtain licensure, increase the student teaching experience from 14 weeks to two years, and increase retention of teachers.
“By participating in an apprenticeship program, individuals commit to a pre-determined level of service with the local school that sponsored their program,” said Slekar. “These programs give local schools the opportunity to recruit employees, recent high school graduates, and community members who are already invested in their local community.”
Teachers are the backbones of our community public schools that serve the children and families of Appalachia Ohio. Sadly, at this moment, more of our teachers are leaving their classrooms and even fewer are entering the profession. Appalachia Ohio has classrooms without well-educated and qualified teachers to educate the next generation of community citizens. This is the heart of the teacher shortage in Appalachia Ohio.
“Creating a teacher apprenticeship program is an additional pathway to teacher licensure,” said Krista Maxson, associate vice chancellor for P-16 Initiatives for the Ohio Department of Higher Education. “This is an opportunity for school districts to take on more of a leadership role in getting teachers they want in their schools.”
To meet the federal definition of a registered apprenticeship program, individuals in the program are paid during their time as a participant as well as receive on-the-job learning in a work setting, job-related classroom training, learning with a mentor, and an industry-recognized credential.
The goal is to develop quality educators to meet the needs of our students, districts, and communities, to support educator candidates by providing a more collaborative and cost-effective pathway to the teaching profession, and by removing barriers, a more diverse candidate pool may strive to join the teaching profession.