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New program working to get more teachers in Oklahoma classrooms

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EDMOND, Okla. - With a serious teacher shortage in Oklahoma, solutions are a top priority.

One community based group that fights for workforce development has teamed up with the University of Central Oklahoma to get more educators in the classroom.

"We know that the shortages are critical,” said Dr. Diane Jackson, chair of Department Education Sciences, Foundations & Research at UCO.

The goal is to fill the teaching gap.

"We have hundreds of shortages of teachers in the classroom, and what that means is those are kids who don't have teachers to guide them in instruction and things like that," said Sandino Thompson, with It’s My Community Initiative (IMCI).

It's My Community Initiative is working to find a solution to get people excited about education.

"We can help folks with financial aid, we can help them with tuition. We have robust support around some of the barriers they might have getting into this industry and being successful," said Thompson.

It is possible through a partnership with UCO and a grant by the Department of Labor, to prepare unemployed and underemployed Oklahomans for the classroom.

An accelerated program has been designed to get folks ready to teach in no time.

"People who begin this program this summer, June 1st, in four semesters, will have completed the masters of secondary education," said Dr. Jackson.

"We think people who have a heart for working with children or who have a heart for wanting to make an impact on what's going on in Oklahoma City and in the area, this is the place for them to go and for them to do," said Thompson.

In order to qualify for the program, applicants need to have a bachelor's degree and apply by April 30.

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