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Oklahoma school district uses a $10,000 housing stipend to draw in potential teachers

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Muskogee Public Schools has 21 teaching vacancies heading into fall 2022.

The district is getting creative in its efforts to fill them: Offering a $10,000 housing stipend to buy a home or build a new one within Muskogee City Limits.

The program is funded by the Muskogee City Foundation in partnership with the Port of Muskogee Industrial Development.

“It’s incredible timing, and it’s an incredible opportunity,” district spokesperson Brandon Irby said.

The initiative has funding for 50 applicants and will target other industries of need in Muskogee as well, per the Port of Muskogee Industrial Development Authority.

Muskogee’s initiative is based on Remote Tulsa, said Darla Heller, who works for the Port of Muskogee’s Industrial Development team.

The program targets hard-to-fill and well-paying positions, and companies or other employers in Muskogee can apply as a way to attract new applicants.

Heller said the organization is specifically looking to help get more education, healthcare and high skill manufacturing workers into Muskogee.

Oklahoma’s schools have had a hard time filling teaching vacancies amid a teacher shortage.

Last year, Oklahoma districts had to hire a record 3,600 emergency certified teachers. Those are educators who have not yet met all the qualifications to become a traditional classroom teacher.

Muskogee Public Schools will hold an open job fair on Friday, July 22. Applicants will have the opportunity to learn about available positions throughout the district and complete an initial interview. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 5-7 p.m. at Tony Goetz Elementary School located at 2412 Haskell Blvd.

There are specific qualifications to participate in the program for employers and employees. Visit the Port of Muskogee Industrial Development Authority’s website for more details.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
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