ED and DOL Letter on Addressing School Staff Shortages

August 31, 2022

On August 31, Department of Education (ED) Secretary Miguel Cardona and Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Marty Walsh sent a letter to state and local education and workforce leaders encouraging them to take a series of actions to address teacher and school staff shortages and invest in the teaching profession, including:

(1) Establish high quality paid Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAP) for teaching. Registered Apprenticeship is an effective, high-quality "earn and learn" model that provides structured, paid on-the-job learning experiences combined with job-related technical instruction with a mentor that leads to a nationally recognized credential. Once established, RAPs can leverage financial resources from ED and DOL to support this career pathway.

(2) Increase collaboration across workforce and education systems, including strengthening career pathway partnerships, to bring more people into the education profession through high-quality pathways, such as providing opportunities for school-based staff to become teachers. Workforce and education partners can work more closely in developing their respective statewide strategies, including how they can create pathways for individuals from underrepresented populations to become educators. The letter recommends creating long-term collaboration through inclusion in state plans required by Federal Education laws such as ESEA, IDEA and Perkins.

(3) Ensure teachers are paid a livable and competitive wage. Secretaries Cardona and Walsh encourage states and school districts to use ESSER funds to pay critical staff competitively. They also highlight that Governors, county commissioners, and mayors can also help districts address this challenge by using the $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to help schools hire staff, including by providing premium pay.

Read the full letter here.

In addition to the letter, the White House announced commitments from talent recruitment and job platforms to make it easier for states and school districts source, recruit, and hire teachers and school professionals, and to help more Americans find jobs in education. See more information here