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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Job market strong for Woodring grads

In an annual report documenting the success of graduates, Western’s Career Services Center revealed 96 percent of graduates with a teaching certificate from Woodring College of Education were employed a year after graduation, and 84.5 percent had jobs in a related field.

The survey also determined 75 percent of Woodring graduates have found teaching positions in Washington state.

Dean of Woodring College Francisco Rios said in an email that the nation is currently in demand for more educators. He said this shortage, along with the programs and opportunities provided by Woodring, are key components as to why graduates have been met with so much success.

“It begins with the quality of our students,” Rios said. “They have a strong commitment to becoming the very best education professionals who want to make a difference in classrooms, schools and communities.”

A report by the National Center for Educational Statistics, which looked at hiring projections for teachers in 2022, said the annual number of new teacher hires at public and private schools is projected to rise in the coming years.

The Mount Vernon School District was one of the major employers for recent Bachelor degree graduates, according to the career services report.

Senior Jaclyn LeBlanc is currently in her second year of Woodring and said in an email that she is hopeful that she will be one of those able to quickly secure a teaching job after graduation. LeBlanc said she has spent time teaching and observing in seven or eight different schools while pursuing her degree and the experience in elementary education has allowed her to feel prepared for her future in the field.

Woodring is unique because of its heavy hands-on experience, LeBlanc said. Some of her friends pursuing teaching degrees at other universities are involved in shorter programs and are given less experience in the field before graduation.

Rios said Woodring has a reputation for success, which is valuable in the eyes of future employers.

“It’s often the case when I meet with superintendents that they will tell me that when they have job openings and see that a Woodring student has applied, that they often will put that application at the top of the pile,” Rios said. “That speaks as much about our state-wide reputation for quality teacher preparation as it does for the quality of the actual preparation for the realities of classrooms that we provide.”

The 2013-2014 Woodring report noted internship experience as a major component to the success of graduates. Those with internship experience found employment sooner and were reported to have a salary that was on average 8 percent higher than those without, according to the report.

LeBlanc said Woodring requires a demanding schedule that has sometimes caused her to question if the work was worth it.

“After each practicum experience with the children we are reminded exactly why we are pushing through college,” LeBlanc said. “The children make it worth it.”

Nicole Parker graduated from the Woodring program in December 2014 and has since been substituting for the Bellingham School District, she said in an email. Her internship, which required her to teach full time for three full weeks, prepared her for the atmosphere of the classroom, Parker said.

“I love teaching and could not imagine doing anything else for a career,” Parker said. “Woodring has prepared me to be confident and know that I have the knowledge to be a great teacher.”

Rios said the program, along with internships, place an emphasis on reflection, pushing students to grow and continually improve. He said the retirement of teachers in the next five to seven years could mean even more success for those receiving teaching certificates.

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