Talent Together Consortium works to recruit new teachers to address shortage crisis

The employment website Indeed.com named nursing, real estate agent, and truck driver as three of its top jobs in 2022.

All three careers have shown significant growth since 2019 - and average base pay salaries ranging from $80,000 to $100,000. What is not on the list, is teaching.

The average starting pay for a teacher in Michigan — is roughly $36,000. But without teachers — none of those top jobs are possible because they’re all rooted in education.

"Education is by far is a relevant and timely career," said Dr. Daveda Colbert of Wayne RESA. "One that brings joy, because every profession comes by way of education."

That’s why several Michigan superintendents are teaming up to put more teachers in the classrooms. It’s formally called the Talent Together Consortium, and they hopped on a Zoom call to talk solutions to the teacher shortage crisis.

"Talent together is important for me as a local superintendent because, just like other districts, Ypsilanti Community Schools is facing the teacher shortage crisis. This is real for districts urban and rural," said Dr. Alena Zachary-Ross.

Ross is the superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools. She’s eager to tackle this problem because she says doing it alone isn’t working.

"When Superintendent Naomi Norman approached the Washtenaw Superintendents Association about this initiative, I was thrilled," said Ross.

The team says Michigan school districts struggle to keep teachers — with a 66 percent drop in educator preparation enrollment — one of the worst in the country.

Talent Together’s plan is to provide participants with several ways to earn a teaching degree or certification, cut financial barriers, recruit, and establish a mentorship program.

The goal is to add more teachers over the next five years.

"This is an opportunity to eliminate barriers for folks who otherwise wouldn’t have access to the teaching profession to gain access to the teaching profession," said Jack Elsey, Michigan Educator Workforce Initiative.

"We want each and every student throughout the county to be able to see a reflection of themselves in the classrooms," Colbert said.

Talent Together’s program is open to people with little to no college experience. It may take one or more years to finish and is open to anyone thinking of switching to a career in teaching.