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Hiring 2.0: How Read Better Be Better Has Responded to the New Job Market

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Guest Blog Post from Read Better Be Better - The COVID-19 virus has created seismic societal shifts, from school and business closures to supply chain disruptions and travel restrictions, just to name a few. The ripple effects of the pandemic’s havoc are becoming more and more evident. 

One critical issue is the difficulty that United States’ businesses are having in hiring workers. The sight of “Help Wanted” signs hanging in restaurant and bar windows is the new norm. The education, manufacturing, and transportation sectors are especially struggling to fill positions. 

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There is much discussion about the seeds of the tight labor market, with reasons ranging from early retirements, continued concerns about health risks in the workplace, and the difficulties securing as well as the costs associated with child care. Yet maybe the clearest explanation is Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley’s quote in a May 22, 2021, New York Times article entitled Why It’s Hard to Hire Right Now: “People are not merely financial engines.

No, people are human beings. People have lives outside of work. And in the past 18 months, people's lives—both personal and professional—have been upended during the pandemic in any number of ways: job losses, lost time, losing loved ones. For many people, living through the pandemic has caused them to rearrange their priorities, or to turn those priorities on their head. What was once tolerated in the pre-pandemic world is no longer.

Read Better Be Better, an after-school reading comprehension program, respects the needs of people in this new job market and the importance of responding to those needs through better pay, flexible work schedules, and opportunities for professional and career development. Although we’re a small nonprofit—with a total of just 13 full-time employees—during the Fall 2021 semester we will provide literacy programming to more than 2,000 students in 11 school districts in Maricopa and Pinal counties. Our program is critical in a state in which 69% of students do not read at grade level and with a childhood literacy ranking of 45th in the country. 

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We are currently hiring part-time Program Coaches to facilitate our literacy curriculum with young readers and youth leaders at 77 school sites across the Valley. Program Coaches meet with the students twice a week for 90 minutes each session, either Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. There is no prep work involved. Program Coaches train middle school volunteers to implement a simple but highly-structured curriculum for 3rd grade students. The older students work one-on-one with the younger students, modeling and fostering active engagement with a variety of books. The Program Coach is on-hand to encourage all students in their participation and growth. 

The position is ideal for anyone who is considering a career in education, has a commitment to education equity and social justice, and/or enjoys working with elementary and middle school students. A college degree is not required but Program Coaches must have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.

During the past year, the benefits of our Program Coach position has grown to include:

  • Starting pay of $15 an hour (nearly $3 more than the state minimum wage), with a pay increase each semester capping at $17 an hour;
  • Ongoing professional development trainings, coaching sessions, and mentorship opportunities with RBBB staff;
  • Room for advancement to full-time positions within the organization;
  • Networking opportunities with partners in the education and nonprofit fields;
  • Valuable hours of hands-on experience in the classroom.  

While there are many job openings right now, few offer the opportunity to be part of the solution to end Arizona's childhood literacy crisis. For more information about becoming an RBBB Program Coach and to apply, visit:

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