SHELBYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Eastern Illinois University has launched a program that encourages students training to be teachers to consider looking for employment in rural communities.

Doug Bower, dean of education at Eastern Illinois, says the program is called Teacher Corps.

The (Decatur) Herald and Review reports that under the program, students are taken to rural districts to tour schools and talk to teachers about their experiences working there.

Shelbyville superintendent Denise Bence says the teachers in her district know the names of all the children. Bence says if that atmosphere appeals to the student teachers then they should consider working in a rural school.

State Board of Education data shows Illinois schools had more than 2,800 vacant positions as of last fall.