DECATUR, Ill. (NEXSTAR)– One university is expanding its education program to help bring the shortage of teachers to an end. Millikin University announced its new Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program Wednesday.
University leaders said the program will help put an end to the teacher shortage by making the program accessible for a special group of candidates.
It’s no secret that Illinois has a serious need for teachers around the state, with Central Illinois being one of the areas where teachers are needed the most. Leaders in education said people have been trying to fill in the gaps but were not sure who they could do so.
“We get calls every day, how can I become a teacher? This is a program that is going to really help people in this area,” said Matt Snyder, Regional Superintendent for ROE #39.
Millikin’s director of the School of Education said the program was created to help them break into the field by allowing them to choose the timing of their classes.
“Having the program be available and flexible is one of the goals I initially set that I knew the population we are trying to reach out to need to have that flexibility due to work schedules and life schedules,” said Dr. Pamela Barnes.
Leader said the program will also keep people from leaving the area.
“Residents go to Charleston, down to Eastern, to Illinois State. Having a local university and a local area to come to is going to be very exciting for everyone,” Snyder said,
If applicants need work once they get their degree, they will not have to look far.”Most importantly, those of you who graduate from this program, we would be happy to employ you the next day here in Decatur to serve our kids,” said Decatur Public Schools Superintendent Paul Fregeau said.
The university hopes to have roll out the program by August 2020 pending academic accreditation approval. Their secondary date would be in the spring of 2021.