DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado’s unemployment rate is hovering above eight percent and it’s even higher for recent college graduates trying to break into the work force.

One non-profit is thriving and getting people hired. In Colorado this year, Teach for America has recruited, trained and placed 340 teachers.

“It was a really good vehicle for me to come back to my community and make a difference,” said teacher Angela Cobain.

Cobain is one of 14 teachers who came to Cole Arts & Science Academy by way of Teach for America.

Teach for America recruits teachers from any field or background. College graduates who join Teach for America are hired as full-time employees and receive the same starting salary as other teachers.

“We’re extremely committed to continuous improvement,” said Teach for America Director Sean VanBerschot.

VanBerschot said even before the economic downturn the non-profit saw applications increase.

“The economics are playing out in our favor, but at the same time it makes people really question what it is they stand for and do,” said VanBerschot. “We want the most talented human beings whether that be from journalism, politics or engineering. We want that brain, that extraordinary leader. I can teach you the skills on how to be an effective leader.”

The teachers are placed in low income communities for a two-year commitment with the hope that they will chose to stay longer.

Cole’s principal said it is working for her school.

“Because the quality of people who have come into our school from Teach for America have raised the bar in terms of high expectations,” said Cole Arts & Science Academy Principal Julie Murgel.

The teachers also enjoy the positive experience.

“I enjoy coming to work because the team I work with is incredibly supportive,” said Cobain.


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