POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Recruiters are heading to Puerto Rico to find people interested in living and working in Polk County.

Polk County Public Schools needs teachers and school staff. Teachers in Puerto need work.

“After [Hurricane] Maria, a lot of schools were shut down because of the destruction, and so the infrastructure is still struggling,” said Ana Rivera, president and founder of the Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Polk County. “They’re having problems in giving out work to teachers on the island.”

that’s why Rivera says going to San Juan to recruit school employees is a good idea.

“They’re American citizens. So there’s not an issue in trying to get them here, getting them with a visa, work visa etc., etc.,” she said.

Rivera said the Puerto Rican population has surpassed other Hispanic-origin groups in Polk County.

According to the latest Census data, Hispanics make up 27% of the people in Polk County.

The school district will be consulting with Rivera next week about the in-person hiring event scheduled for late March.

“Our Davenport Haines City area is booming with people from Puerto Rico moving. We have people call us every week who are living in Puerto Rico and are trying to figure out the certification process and all of that to get here,” said Caroline Giroux, recruitment coordinator at Polk County Public Schools.

On any given day, Polk County Public Schools is in need of 200 teachers.

School leaders said the shortage is no different than what other school districts and workplaces are facing.

“Polk County is growing. It’s one of the fastest-growing communities and counties in Florida. It’s not necessarily about a shortage here. It’s just about the fact that we are just growing and we have more students to serve,” said Jessica McNemar, director for recruitment and teacher engagement for Polk County Public Schools.

This school year, Polk County Public Schools doubled its international recruitment, with 70 teachers hired from other countries.

Now, it is hoping to recruit more teachers from Puerto Rico.

“With them bringing teachers that are bilingual, they’re going to be able to address not only the Puerto Rican population but the Mexican population, the Dominican, the Cuban, the Colombian, all of those who were moving into Florida,” Rivera said.

The starting salary for teachers in Polk County is $47,500 and all positions pay at least $15 an hour.

PCPS recruiters will be at the Courtyard Isla Verde Beach Resort in San Juan on Friday, March 24 (3-6 p.m.) and Saturday, March 25 (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.), along with representatives from Lee County and St. Lucie County school districts.

To register online, visit https://polkschoolsfl.com/jobfair/.