With the national unemployment rate over eight percent, competition for jobs is becoming even fiercer. A record number of future teachers did their homework at UNCW's education job fair. “You realize you have a lot of competition in this competitive market, you never know who's going to get the jobs. So it's been eye opening,” said Zack Grant, a UNCW education major. More than 400 educational hopefuls shook hands and handed out resumes to representatives from 50 North Carolina county school districts. Monica Goza of the NHC school system said, “Well your always going to need classroom teachers. So the classroom teacher positions for our county, we continue to fill them as we have vacancies.” This year more than 150 out of state applicants attended the career fair. “I am more optimistic about getting a job here than I am in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is very competitive and I just feel like I would have a better opportunity in North Carolina,” said out-of-state job hunter Jennifer Lau. Diane Reed of the UNCW Career Center understands Lau’s plight. “Unfortunately, other states are having more teacher layoffs than North Carolina is right now.” But even some counties in the Tar Heel state are failing to make the grade when it comes to hiring new teachers. With more people attending UNCW's education job fair this year, it's even more important that applicants do their best to try and stand out from the rest of the crowd. “I think the excitement that I bring to it, that may set me apart. I hope it does. We'll see what happens come job time,” Grant said. Most of the future educators are confident they'll find a spot at the head of the class. Despite announcing a hiring freeze just last month, New Hanover County was one of the most visited sites at the job fair. A county spokesperson said the freeze would only effect non-essential positions like teaching assistants. The hiring freeze won't apply to classroom teachers.
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