Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: email@example.com
New Jersey taps Wall Street's jobless to fill instructor shortages in mathematics.
Moody's Economy.com is predicting that 70,000 financial workers in the New York area will lose their jobs by the middle of 2010. New Jersey, which is home to many laid-off Wall Street bankers and is facing a looming shortfall in math teachers, launched Traders to Teachers, an accelerated program at Montclair State University to retrain laid-off financial services employees as math teachers. The full-time, three-month program, which starts in September, puts applicants through intensive math classes and requires them to spend one day each week observing and teaching math in a middle school or high school. Upon completion, they are placed in a paid teaching position at a public school, and over the next two years, the program provides teachers with professional support and mentoring. To be an applicant, individuals must have been laid off from the financial industry, have a bachelor's degree and pass a math test - which is tough enough that only 69 of the first 146 applicants passed. A commitment to teach at least through June 2012 is expected, and the cost of the program for participants is funded by a federal grant administered through the New Jersey Department of Labor. The university will begin accepting applications for the Spring 2010 program this summer. If successful, the program may be expanded to retrain laid-off pharmaceutical workers as science teachers.