MANATEE -- The Manatee County School District Transportation Department hired six new employees by 10 a.m. Thursday.
The new hires were critical for the district, which has advertised for school bus drivers through the 2014-15 school year. This year, district officials decided to get ahead with a daylong job fair at Manatee Technical College where officials were looking for support employees such as bus drivers as well as teachers.
District officials said they were pleased with the job fair, which drew more than
100 people waiting in line at 9 a.m. when doors opened. The fair, reportedly the first in the past decade, was organized by the Human Resources Department and new Executive Director Sarah Brown.
"We're happy to see so many people come," she said as she zipped from table to table, answering questions and helping people.
Sandra Ford, promoted from director of Food and Nutrition Services, had to hop in at her former department's booth to help handle the long line of applicants. By 10:45 a.m., Blackburn Elementary School Principal Marla Massi-Blackmore was completely booked with interviews for teachers.
The district lists more than 200 open positions on its online hiring website, and was hiring for about 50 positions. Online job postings have to be up for 10 days before managers can begin conducting interviews and filling slots, Brown said, so hiring will continue through the summer.
Applicants were directed to Manatee Technical College computer lab, media center or a mobile computer lab run by CareerSource Suncoast to fill out an online application.
Once the application was completed, interviews were conducted on the spot with support services -- maintenance, operations, food services. Times to interview with principals for instructional positions could be scheduled.
Massi-Blackmore left a Title I conference Wednesday in Orlando to be back in time for the fair. With teacher training starting Aug. 10 at her school, she said she wants to fill all available positions by then.
"We want professionals. People that come to job fairs, they understand the importance of meeting face to face," she said. "This is the best opportunity to have all the services in one building."
Eight instructional openings were posted for Blackburn.
"There will be other vacancies that occur during the summer," said Cynthia Saunders, executive director of secondary schools.
"They're already in our system now," Brown added.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.