KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — Last year, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDEP) reported that there were 1,196 vacant teaching positions within the state. This year, that number is expected to reach 1,500.

Kanawha County Schools (KCS) alone faces a shortage of 170 educators.

KSC Superintendent Tom Williams, says, “We need elementary teachers, we need middle school teachers, all subject areas for the middle and the high.”

Dale Lee, West Virginia Education Association President, says the problem starts in college students.

“Fewer students are going into education programs,” he says. “We have a college in West Virginia that had less than five students in their education program this past year.”

The state is working on solutions, though. Williams says the county is offering a program that will allow anyone who has a Bachelor’s degree and 2.0 GPA to become a teacher.

“If you have a college diploma then come on down to our meetings and if you’re interested in a career change, we’ll be happy to walk you through the steps of what you have to do,” Williams says.

These meetings will guide candidates to a new career in teaching within a matter of weeks, depending on the position, according to Williams

Substitute teachers earn a starting rate of $146 per day, but there are dozens of positions available for both professional and service staff, including bus drivers, Third Base program assistants, nurses, special education aides and more.

Informational meetings will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17 at the KCS Human Resources Department.