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Number of Illinois ag educator positions growing

A growing number of agricultural education programs in Illinois has created more demand for teachers.

Jess Smithers, Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education Coordinator, tells Brownfield about five new ag education programs have been opening annually in Illinois at the same time programs are expanding and some teachers near retirement.  “Twenty candidates that we’ve had the past couple of years is definitely not enough to fill out our demand and we hope to increase that supply to meet not only retirements, but new programs, expanding programs, etcetera.”

He says their education group, along with partnerships in the agricultural industry, are working to increase recruitment and retention of ag educators to meet increasing demands from the 325 programs throughout Illinois.  “Quality programs, quality FFA chapters, all hinges upon having a quality teacher in the classroom.”

Smitters says currently there are 53 openings for ag educators this year in the state, 32 positions have been filled.

AUDIO: Interview with Jess Smithers

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