It seems to be my time to be down on meetings. Last week I wrote about a San Luis Valley County Commissioners meeting. This week it is BOCES turn.
Once a month BOCES hosts a meeting of the San Luis Valley School Superintendents.
The acronym for the group is SAC (Superintendents Advisory Council).
There are a lot of people who speak at this meeting, and they almost always include someone from the Colorado Department of Education, Trinidad State Junior College and Adams State College (they partner a lot of programs with the school districts), and BOCES employees, like people in charge of special ed, migrant children, etc.
Toward the end of this particular meeting a BOCES employee spoke to the group about the difficulty in finding specialized employees, particularly, in this case, occupational therapists.
The employee noted that the last occupational therapist they hired was being paid $90,000 for a nine-month contract, and that $90,000 was way above the amount BOCES wants to pay for an occupational therapist.
The employee said it was just about impossible to find an occupational therapist who wants to live in the San Luis Valley.
The employee had a solution, though. She wanted the approval of the SLV school superintendents to hire someone from overseas who would work for less than $90,000.
The way she explained it, BOCES would contract with the foreign employee, possibly through a third party contractor, for the person to work with BOCES for a set length of time. To make sure the person stays on the job, BOCES, or the third party contractor, would hold on to their VISA so they could not leave.
Hmmmmm. Hire a presumably qualified foreigner. Pay them less to do the job than you are having to pay a US citizen in the same job. Hold on to their visa so they canít leave.
It just doesnít seem right to me. I donít buy that the Valley is so bad that people wonít move here for a job. Especially in todayís job market.
The superintendents werenít fully buying into the idea, either. They were asking questions like: How do we know how qualified they are? How can we have background checks on these people? They will have accents that our students might not be able to understand, and they may not understand our studentsí accents and how can that possibly work?
I donít know where BOCES is recruiting occupational therapists, but I would assume they are targeting colleges and universities where there are occupational therapist programs.
The Valley could be painted as a nice place to live Ė many people find it so. There are a lot of positives here.
Perhaps BOCES could team up with the chamber and other groups that promote the Valley to send promotional materials to the occupational therapy departments in colleges and universities around the U.S.
Perhaps BOCES employees could distribute such materials when they attend job fairs around the U.S.
It would certainly be less expensive (though probably not as much fun) than sending a BOCES employee to job fairs overseas.