Interested candidates visited St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, during the first Job Fair on May 9. John Batkowski photo
Interested candidates visited St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, during the first Job Fair on May 9. John Batkowski photo

Opportunities for employment in Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the Diocese of Trenton were front and center during two Catholic School Job Fairs held May 9 in St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, and May 11 in Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville.

PHOTO GALLERY: Job Fair St. John Vianney High School

PHOTO GALLERY: Job Fair Notre Dame High School

The jobs initiative, the first such effort coordinated by the Diocese, brought promising outcomes, according to Bonnie Milecki, diocesan associate director for school development and operations. She reported, “The Job Fair generated nearly 150 candidate leads for our schools, and over the course of both fairs principals spoke with over 100 candidates. There was palpable energy as a result of bringing our 30 schools and leaders together, presenting a united coalition of the Catholic schools of the Diocese in order to share with candidates the benefits of joining any one of our school communities.”

The Job Fair initiative was a response to the challenges caused by the teacher shortage that is being reported across the nation. “Our Catholic school principals, like all school leaders throughout the country, have struggled in recent years with the recruitment and retention of teachers,” Milecki said.

While the fairs were beneficial to principals and their own school communities, the sessions also provided the opportunity to highlight Catholic schools as a whole.

Milecki went on to say, “Walking into a room with 30 Catholic schools represented really creates a powerful image of the vitality of Catholic schools today.  We heard many candidates remark that they didn’t realize how many Catholic schools were in the Diocese, and express gratitude that we made it so easy for them to connect with all of them.  My favorite ‘user experience’ quote came from a candidate who remarked, ‘I’ve never been to a Job Fair and met so many nice people; that was actually fun!’  I think that speaks to our success of communicating the positive culture found in our schools.”

Elizabeth Tonkovich, principal of St. Dominic School, Brick, also saw the strength in the schools from all four counties of the Diocese coming together. She said, “The Job Fairs presented a united front as Catholic schools of the Diocese of Trenton. The candidates, possibly for the first time ever, saw the strength and opportunities that lie within the schools.”

Joseph Slavin, principal of St. Raphael School, Hamilton, agreed, saying, “I thought the Job Fair was a success.  It was well-organized and all schools participated.  It was good to see the different presentations and everyone can learn from each other for next year.  I had several comments from candidates on the pleasant atmosphere of the event.  They were impressed with how friendly and welcoming the schools were.”

“The candidates that I spoke to were very impressed with the schools that were represented,” Nicole Piroso, supervisor of instruction from Red Bank Catholic High School, offered. 

The Job Fairs were only a part of effort to address the teacher shortage.  As Milecki explained, additional measures to assist schools in hiring qualified teachers are also being employed.

“We are also launching the Diocese of Trenton Frontline Recruitment and Hiring Platform.  This website will house all the open positions at all 30 of our schools in one centralized location and make it easy to apply to more than one job at a time,” she explained.

“I met some interesting candidates. Some were looking for positions that we did not have open, but it is good to have their resumes on file,” Piroso shared.

Tonkovich acknowledged that she, too, met several candidates that may present viable hiring options.  “One is scheduled to be interviewed this week!” she announced.