School district increases job openings marketing efforts

26 subs added since the holidays

[  By Kendra Walker  ]

The Gunnison Watershed School District is still in need of bus drivers, food service workers and substitute teachers, but is starting to see some response to its latest marketing efforts and hopes to continue the momentum before the end of the school year.  

During the February 14 school board meeting, superintendent Dr. Leslie Nichols and marketing consultant Erica Rasmussen shared an update on the district’s workforce shortage situation and marketing efforts. 

“We have definitely increased the roles of our substitute list,” said Nichols. Last week the district hired another permanent substitute teacher in Crested Butte and has added 26 substitute teachers district-wide since the holiday break. “That is remarkable,” said Nichols, but also noted that many of the new subs still have very limited availability. 

Nichols attributed the new wave of substitute interest to the district’s new marketing efforts. She also gave the Crested Butte PTA a huge shout-out, which has been offering $100 City Market gift cards to substitute teachers at Crested Butte Community School. The district has also implemented a bonus program, offering subs a $100 bonus for every five days worked. 

This year, the district hired Rasmussen to help with upping its marketing game and better communicate the schools’ workforce shortages in the hopes of attracting people to fill the open positions. 

Rasmussen shared the district’s three main marketing goals with building its workforce: creating awareness of jobs, filling positions this school year and creating efficiencies that build for the long-term. 

In general, the messaging is intended to inspire people to want to work with the district and, as Rasmussen puts it, “understand that the school is more than just a building. We’re helping people understand the character and the heart behind the job they could be filling.” 

The district has engaged in a number of marketing activities so far, including refining its newspaper advertising, launching KBUT public service announcements and Nichols speaking on KBUT’s Community Matters program, creating a new jobs landing page and digitized inquiry form, launching a paid social media campaign and hosting a virtual hiring fair. 

For paid social media, Rasmussen is focusing on integrating more video and optimizing storytelling. With the latest round of social media ads, the district has reached 5,440 people with 28,888 impressions and 335 link clicks. 

Rasmussen also noted that in the last couple weeks, the district has received 15 inquiries, mostly for substitute teaching and some for kitchen staff. 

Looking ahead, the district plans to continue building local collaborations, refining its automated inquiry system, develop a hiring pipeline, improve its cohesive messaging, build off of its reach so far, and continue impactful storytelling that generates interest, enthusiasm and conversion.

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