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Job market lags for newly minted teachers in Western Pennsylvania

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Saturday, April 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Jacob Minsinger wants to teach.

Minsinger will graduate from Duquesne University with honors on May 3 and is determined to wade into the great adventure known as middle school.

“I love the mission of schools, to teach and to help students grow. … I'm the youngest member of my class. I won't be 22 until September, and my goal is to get a teaching job while I'm still 21,” Minsinger said.

Though it may be the best of times for graduates in disciplines such as engineering and information science, it's the worst of times for newly minted teachers in Western Pennsylvania.

School districts had begun to eliminate teaching positions when Minsinger enrolled at Duquesne, but he convinced himself things would improve by graduation.

Instead, the drain continued.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association estimates attrition and layoffs eliminated about 20,000 teaching positions in recent years. Yet the state typically produces 15,000 to 20,000 certified teachers a year, hiring about a third of them.

As the son and grandson of teachers, Minsinger figures he will have to relocate to find work.

“Locally there aren't many job opportunities. Most of the ads are for substitutes. So, I'm focusing on Maryland,” said Minsinger, a graduate of Pittsburgh CAPA, Downtown.

His classmates in Duquesne's education program, he said, are splitting into two camps: those heading to graduate school and those planning to leave Pennsylvania.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or

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