Recruitment Sources and Strategies
Recruiters for schools across the country are making use of both historically successful and newer sources to fill current vacancies for SLPs and to identify potential employees for the future. These sources include:
- University programs
- Ads in local and national newspapers
- Networking with current staff and student teachers
- Recruitment agencies
- National, state, and local speech-language-hearing associations
- Job fairs
- Online links among all rural, urban, and suburban schools in given districts and via special education cooperatives
ASHA offers an online Career Center, a service for matching employers and prospective employees. The site allows the employer to place ads online and, once the ads are posted, to review hundreds of resumes that job seekers post at no charge. The site also has a "Manage Your Account" option that helps employers organize and process applicants, and a "Resume Agent" that sends e-mail when a resume that matches an employer's specific criteria is entered into the system. Besides its online Career Center, ASHA publishes The ASHA Leader, a newsmagazine that carries employment ads and is distributed to more than 130,000 professionals and students.
ASHA has developed a brochure and pdf presentation that can be used to promote the profession:
- Provide career information at high school and college career fairs. See the OMNIE Project for more information.
- Hire full-time mentor and hiring official in the district to help new hires complete the hiring process. Train staff in facilitation skills to facilitate new hires.
- Train staff in facilitation skills to facilitate new hires (move to career Information/Options)
In The Impact of Mentoring on Teacher Retention: What the Research Says (Education Commission of the States 2004) successful mentoring programs that are multifaceted, time-intensive programs, involving effective mentors, common planning time, and collaboration with other teachers, are reported to be more likely to result in substantial differences in teacher retention outcomes.
Some suggestions include:
- Have high school students shadow SLPs
- Develop mentorship program for new hires. In Anne Arundel County, Maryland, through the New Teacher/Pathologist Induction Program for Special Educators (TIPS), full-time SLPs assist newly hired SLPs in all aspects of their work through on-site visitations, observations, phone and e-mail communications, meetings, and training. (Division 16 Perspectives Newsletter, "Collaborative Coaching Scores a Win: Special Education Induction Program," December 2005, pp. 7-10).
Success Story: Mentoring Program
Anne Arundel County is lower paying than several surrounding counties, thus attracting personnel elsewhere. The county has had an annual attrition rate of 10%-15%, and positions have had to be filled by contractual personnel. Contractual personnel are usually contracted for 1 year, leaving the position open for the next school year.
In Anne Arundel County, a sign-on bonus has been offered to new hires. Another draw to this county is that SLPs are on a separate pay scale. A full-time mentor is assigned to new personnel offering clinical fellowship year supervision, trainings 2 half-days per month, on-site visitations, and frequent phone call and e-mail contacts. Trainings are initiated prior to the opening of school if new SLPs are available. Anne Arundel County is in the process of initiating payment for licensure or ASHA dues. This school year, a new service delivery is being implemented in targeted schools, which addresses workload concerns. In the area of recruitment, Human Resources plans to hold recruiting fairs that target specified groups. We are also considering visiting graduate programs in person to recruit.
Mentoring is top on the list of activities that help to recruit and retain quality personnel. Many potential new hires stated that college faculty recommended looking for school systems with new SLP induction programs already in place. With a full-time resource person available, new SLPs have access to assistance at all times.
Other districts with recruitment and retention problems should have an induction program in place to assist new hires. Mentors should attend recruitment fairs at universities and conventions to encourage prospective hires to interview in their systems. Due to SLP shortages, payment for Certificate of Clinical Competence and licensure/ASHA should be a given.
Fran Silverman, MA, CCC-SLP
Anne Arundel County Public Schools (MD)
Read ASHA's other local district success stories.
The National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services
The National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services is a coalition that works to sustain a discussion among all key stakeholders on the issue of personnel shortages in education settings; develop and share personnel shortages data and information; and improve policies and practices affecting personnel shortages in special education and related services professions. ASHA and the Personnel Improvement Center, (see below) housed at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), co-chair the coalition, which represents more than 30 national, state, and local organizations. The coalition has a Web site to provide administrators and hiring officials with information on the training, certification, and licensure requirements of the coalition professions represented; data on the extent of the shortages across professions, success stories; and resources on recruitment and retention strategies.
The National Center to Improve Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Personnel for Children with Disabilities-Personnel Improvement Center (PIC)
The National Center to Improve Recruitment and Retention of Qualified Personnel for Children with Disabilities-Personnel Improvement Center (PIC) is a U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) funded project housed at NASDSE. It works to address the shortage of personnel through direct work with states. The Personnel Center accomplishes this goal through, increasing state and local capacity to retain new special educators and related service personnel through building level supports, focusing the conversation at the national level on personnel data systems and improving states' responses to high-need local communities, and by creating partnerships between local education agencies and higher education institutions (LEA/IHE) partnerships for the preparation of personnel.
The Center has a Web site that contains information on careers, personnel preparation programs, state certification requirements, and financial aid and employment opportunities for career development.
The Personnel Center's National Recruitment Campaign provides candidates with information to help them secure positions in special education and related services careers. This service is provided to entry-level professionals, midcareer changers, and students (middle school through college) who are interested in exploring special education and related services as a possible career path. They also have a partnership with Teachers-Teachers, a national online recruitment service for educators. This free service can assist individuals who are seeking positions in special education and related services to find jobs in the field.
The Personnel Center also provides targeted recruitment and retention services directly to five states per year. Contact the Personnel Center Project Director, Dr. Phoebe Gillespie, at 703-519-3800, ext. 337 if you are interested in learning more about the Center's focused work in states.
This is a speech-language pathology resource with comprehensive job listings specifically for SLPs and CFY's searching for a career in speech-language pathology. The site contains SLP job search tools, SLP licensure information, and career resources.
Other approaches to reaching potential employees:
- Reach out to retired SLPs with job-sharing and part-time opportunities. Penalties on Social Security earnings for those over age 65 who continue to work have been rescinded, and this offers additional recruitment opportunities (Maryland State Retirement Agency, 2001).
- Speak to undergraduates and graduate students about the benefits of working in school settings
- Review the employment ads run in the newsletters of some state associations (ASHA and state associations also offer the opportunity for employers to meet with prospective employees at conventions)
- Contact SLPs who may be leaving health-related settings
- Use video interviews