Worker shortage having ripple effect on schools

Plymouth-Canton schools looking to hire dozens of employees

School districts across Metro Detroit are struggling with staff shortages for nearly every position.
School districts across Metro Detroit are struggling with staff shortages for nearly every position.

PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Most schools have only been in session for about a month, but nearly all of them have been having a tough go of it due to staff shortages.

A nationwide worker shortage is being felt by all industries, and is creating a ripple effect within schools and their classrooms -- including those in Metro Detroit. Over in Plymouth, the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools district is short on staff, especially custodians, in which only 40 out of 80 positions are filled.

“I have to come in early every day, do extra work to keep it going,” said Ryan Anton, a custodian at Farrand Elementary School in Plymouth.

While employees like Anton keep things moving along, the district and its custodial contractor are working to fill open positions -- and though they’re struggling, the superintendent says they have tried everything.

“(We’ve been) offering signing bonuses of $1,000, doing ride shares, really thinking outside the box,” said superintendent Monica Merritt.

The district isn’t just struggling to hire custodial staff: Plymouth-Canton Schools are also trying to hire electricians, plumbers, over 1,000 para-professionals, more than 20 in food services and nine bus drivers.

“... (if) a transportation person is sick, a bus driver, we don’t have subs in that space, so that route is cancelled,” Merritt said. “Every staff member is so valuable, and we don’t have people here to readily replace.”

The labor shortage is inconvenient for the families, too, as they have to figure out how to get the children to school if bus routes are canceled.

“It’s just across the board -- a lot of (job) openings,” Merritt said. “We are coming together to make it happen, but we need to get the word out there.”

Watch the full report in the video above.


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About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.