Black educators develop mobile app to find education jobs



Darryl Diggs Jr., principal of Hardin Middle School in St. Charles, is struggling to fill some substitute teaching positions.

To help connect job seekers to education jobs in Missouri, Diggs and Howard Fields III of Black men in St. Louis education, a group that helps black people pursue careers in education, created EduOpens. The mobile app will help fill these jobs.

The coronavirus pandemic is one reason for the shortage of education workers, as some teachers and other professionals were afraid to return to work, Diggs said.

“If I am faced with this struggle to fill classrooms and positions, then I know my brothers and sisters in the education landscape are going through the same thing, if not worse,” he said.

The St. Louis Public School District alone has about 120 open teaching positions, and a district spokesperson said officials are desperate for bus drivers.

Fields and Diggs received $ 20,000 from the St. Louis Community Foundation, and they each invested approximately $ 12,000 to develop the app and website.

Andrea Y. Henderson

Job seekers can use EduOpenings to search for teaching jobs in Missouri. People can also use the app to find professional development and self-employment opportunities. Recruiters can upload job postings and professional development training.

Several school districts in the state have already posted job openings on the platform. People can find EduOpenings in the App Store for iOS phones and Google Play. Job seekers and employers can download the app for free. In January, people will have to pay to use it.

Diggs and Fields created the app after hosting an education career fair at one of the group’s seminars last year. They noticed that the usual job fairs model of job seekers providing resumes to recruiters and quickly explaining why they would be a good fit for the job did not work for employers as there are still many positions. vacant.

“I think some of the more archaic patterns that we use and the archaic ways that we bring people into our field, they’re pretty dated and they haven’t changed in a while,” said Fields, deputy superintendent. human resources. resources for the Kirkwood School District.

EduOpenings will simplify the process by allowing job seekers to complete a single application, which multiple recruiters can view.

The app will channel applications to employers, so they can hire quickly, Diggs said.

EduOpenings will also allow job seekers to upload videos of themselves describing why they are the best candidate. It also allows employers to receive three interview questions for screening potential employees.

“We wanted to reverse the model where I don’t show up, and I’m interviewing in front of 10 people from the same organization where there’s pressure to nod or assimilate into that culture,” Fields said. “I can introduce myself to five, six, seven, eight different organizations out there, and I am able to ask questions about their organization and why I should consider their organization. “

Recruiters and job seekers can also use the app to download and find professional development opportunities. The app also lists freelance work opportunities.

“This gives you the ability to have a recruiting service in your pocket,” Diggs said.

Diggs and Fields hope candidates get job interviews while doing their day-to-day duties and hiring managers can find suitable candidates.

“We’re looking to disrupt hiring and the way we bring people into education because I think when you look at Gen Z and Millennials, they’re used to having everything on their phones, just barely. there, “Fields said. . “We must react accordingly if we are to increase the number of individuals moving into the field of education.”

Follow Andréa on Twitter: @drebjournalist

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