Harford County Public Schools held a drop-in hiring fair for all positions Tuesday afternoon at Aberdeen High School to make a final push to reach their hiring goals for the coming school year.
During the hiring event, HCPS human resources representatives and representatives from the facilities, food and nutrition, and transportation departments took applications and conducted on-the-spot interviews.
The food and nutrition department was looking to hire dishwashers, cashiers and van drivers, said Katrina Money, manager of the food and nutrition department at Aberdeen High School.
The transportation department was recruiting for bus drivers, bus attendants and administrative roles, said Kiana Barnes, administrative specialist for the transportation department.
The custodial department has 30 openings, including entry-level positions, said Cornell Brown, assistant superintendent of operations at Harford County Public Schools.
“We are still struggling to fill our custodian positions, but these job fairs are really helping,” Brown said. “We are vital to the day-to-day operations when it comes to supporting teachers and students. We look after the safety and cleanliness of the building, which is very critical to the environment.”
HCPS also was looking to fill teacher, substitute and paraeducator positions at the event. The school system has approximately 22 teacher vacancies to fill before the school year begins Sept. 6, said Ben Richardson, assistant superintendent for human resources.
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Each of the departments has been holding job fairs for the past year to fill the vacancies and is getting extremely close to reaching their goals, HCPS officials said. The school system has also used virtual hiring events, video interviewing, social media outreach and small virtual group presentations, said Shannon Hagon, supervisor of staff management.
Harford natives and HCPS alumni attended the hiring fair because of their connection to the community, said Norman McCarthy, a Harford native and aspiring teacher. Harford County offers an urban and rural atmosphere that creates a strong community, McCarthy said.
“I like how in Harford, you get a little bit of everything, and I think it provides a melting pot for HCPS,” McCarthy said. “You get a lot of different backgrounds depending on the school zones. I think it’s really cool to possibly be able to influence something like that.”
Superintendent Sean Bulson said at an April school board meeting that his goal is to hire at least 100 teachers every year who have graduated from the school system.
For those coming from outside of the county, the opportunity to be a guiding figure in the well-structured environment of HCPS is a draw.
“I worked in different grades at different schools, and at all the schools, I notice the school was always in need of guidance and respect‚“ said Donna Lewis, a substitute teacher for HCPS from Baltimore. “The maintenance in Harford County schools is kept. It is very structured, so you don’t see the nonsense in the classroom.
Approximately 250 certificated positions have already been filled for the 2022-2023 school year, HCPS officials said. Harford County Public Schools will hold another hiring fair at the back-to-school night at the Aberdeen IronBirds game on Aug. 25.