ST. CLOUD -- One of the most noble professions has hit hard times in Minnesota recently.

A teacher shortage has hit the state hard, and districts both small and large are having a difficult time hiring new teachers and retaining experienced ones.

Steven Hoover is the Interim Dean of the School of Education at Saint Cloud State University. He says a few different fields make up the highest demand...

"The major areas are in Special Education, and in STEM... the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, those are perennial, we see a demand in those areas often and I think those are true across the state."

Hoover adds that while the situation is currently concerning, enrollment numbers in their teaching program at SCSU are trending upward...

"So we have two sets of numbers that come in, transfers and newly entering freshmen. Transfer student numbers are up, while newly entering freshmen are a bit down from last year, but the numbers are starting to tick up."

Some of the reasons Hoover gives for the shortage are:

  • High turnover
  • Low pay
  • Increasing demands on individual teachers

Hoover says teachers of color are in especially high demand across the state's districts.

SCSU is working with central Minnesota districts and western Twin Cities suburbs to get more kids enrolling into teaching fields.  The university is using workshops and outreach programs to encourage college bound students to explore a teaching degree.