ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Public Schools have already had to navigate their curriculums differently due to the pandemic, but they are also dealing with another challenge.

“What we’re seeing is a need for substitute teachers to support the school district. So we’re very excited about this event,” explained VP of Operations for Kelly Education Brad Beckner.

As more and more kids return to in-person classes, many districts across Illinois and here in the Stateline are seeing a shortage of not only teachers but those helpers like substitutes and paraprofessionals.

“People that have gotten into the noble profession of teaching and instruction as a substitute teacher or paraprofessional what they’ve come back and said is, ‘Wow, you know, it wasn’t as challenging as I originally thought,” Beckner explained.

Kelly Education actually found that only 54% of the nearly 250,000 teacher absences are able to be filled. Beckner says RPS 205 alone needs up to 100 new substitute teachers. Adding, the district would be fully prepared to assist in any way.

“Lesson plans are prepared and ready. The district has a fantastic support staff and so if there’s anybody that needs any assistance there’s plenty of support to make sure they have exactly what they need,” he said.

Beckner encourages anyone with a passion for learning to check out their job fair and says being a substitute teacher is a great experience.

“They come out of that experience with an appreciation of what instructors and what teachers go through every day in support of our children and young adults,” Beckner added.

The job fair is Wednesday at the RPS District Office, located at 501 7th Street in Rockford. Kelly Education is asking attendees to sign up for a spot in advance, but walk-ins will be accepted.

For more details, click here.