Recruit and retain: GRPS holding job fair ahead of new school year

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan’s largest school district is looking to fill more than 200 positions before the start of classes in three weeks.

The district will hold a job fair on Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at GRPS University at 1400 Fuller Avenue.

“We’ll be doing on the spot hiring if the individual meets certain qualifications,” GRPS spokesperson John Helmholdt said.

About one-third of the district’s openings are teaching jobs.

“We’re going to do everything we can to continue to recruit as well as retain,” Helmholdt said. “That’s part of this, you had a number of individuals in the public-school world who said you know, I need to take a break. The COVID and virtual learning — that took its toll.”

The district has openings in various departments including administrative roles, food services, grounds and operations and child care.

Staff members are busy preparing for the upcoming school year, one which will see the district return to in-person instruction five days a week.

“Having talked to the teachers, having talked to the kids, everyone is ready to be back with some type of normalcy,” Helmholdt said.

While a return to a traditional school week is a step toward normalcy, the district is still pondering what direction it’ll take regarding mask usage in schools. The district plans on making an announcement on Wednesday.

“One of the reasons why we’ve waited to put our plan out is until we’ve received latest guidance from federal, state, county officials,” Helmholdt said. “We acknowledge the frustration. Some parents really wanted info out sooner, we were reluctant to put it out and then pull it back if it wasn’t aligned with guidance of those health officials. We’re going to continue as we’ve done all along, seek guidance from health officials; they’re experts in this field. We’re the one and only district that truly stuck with it. We’re eager to communicate our plans.”

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