LAS VEGAS — For decades, the Philippines was the breeding ground of trained nurses for the United States. Today, the nation has become the number one source for foreign-skilled teachers for Clark County.
Grappling with the teacher shortage here in Nevada, the Clark County school district has enforced a recruitment program that provides J-1 visas to educators from other countries who are willing to work in Vegas for 3 years.
In just a few days, these teachers from the Philippines will be very busy as they begin a new chapter in their careers.
As special education teachers, they’ll earn salaries that start at $40,000 per year, compared to $5,000 to $7,000 back home.
These teachers add that although the recruitment process for the job was a breeze, it involved weeks of intense training: from accent reduction, verbal de-escalation tactics, to individualized education planning and classroom management.
Clark County officials say their domestic recruiting efforts fell short, so they looked abroad, choosing 80 Philippine-trained teachers for their English ability, and because they meet Nevada’s education standards.
“It’s challenging, but for me, I get it as a positive way to prove it that we are worth it of doing such thing,” said Elma Arquillano. “We can really do a great job in doing the individualized educational plan. Language-proficiency wise, they got us. We are happy we have in the Philippines, the bilingual policy.”
The majority of the these teachers from the Philippines come from the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
Some say they feel home sick thinking about how far they’ve come for these jobs. But they say that they are thankful for the support of the Filipino-American community in the valley.