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Published in Print: October 1, 1999, as Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas

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Call it a sign of the times. With schools nationwide desperate to hire teachers, officials in Clark County, Nevada, are advertising classroom vacancies in a most unusual place: the Las Vegas airport.

The fast-growing school district has posted a series of ads in the McCarran International Airport, hoping to catch the attention of educators traveling to and from Vegas. The ads play off the city's reputation as a round-the-clock entertainment mecca in a bid to convince teachers that it offers more than just blackjack tables and slot machines. "More career opportunities," reads one of the ads. "More new schools. More all-you-can-eat buffets. Is this a great place to teach or what?"

"Elvis has left the building," reads another. "We have a vacancy at our school."

Each year, the Clark County school system-the eighth largest in the nation-scrambles to fill more than 1,000 teaching positions. George Ann Rice, an official in the district's human resources division, came up with the idea for the ad campaign when she heard that almost 3 million people pass through the airport every month. The airport authority donated advertising space, and ad agencies volunteered their time and talent.

District officials took the first cut at designing the ads. But Rice says the result-pictures of children and the words "We want you"-was too cluttered. The advertising execs who stepped in gave the copy a wry spin and the design a cleaner look. Each ad features a solid-black background, with words in either white or yellow print. Explains Julie Kleinworth, an associate art director at R&R Partners, one of three companies involved in the campaign: "I know when I'm traveling, I want to get my bags and get out of there. To find something that someone is going to read is a real challenge."

Apparently, the gambit is paying off. The district has already hired several teachers who inquired about positions after seeing the signs.

--Linda Jacobson

Vol. 11, Issue 2, Page 12

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