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ESP Careers: Custodial and Maintenance Services

One Education Workforce Serving The Whole Student!

About Us and Our Work

  • 84% of us work in school buildings.
  • 56% have responsibility for school safety.
  • 94% of us work full time.
  • 60% of us are male.
  • On average, we have been NEA ESP members for 10 years.
  • Our average age is 52.

We are committed: On average, we have been in the ESP field 12 years. 91% of us currently plan to stay in the ESP field, and 78% plan to stay in our current jobs until retirement.

We are many: Approximately 368,000 custodial and maintenance services ESP work in the nation's K-12 public schools, making up 16.9% of the U.S. K-12 ESP work force.

We have specific job requirements:

  • 50% of us had to meet specific requirements to get our jobs. 20% of us have special licenses, and 17% have special certificates.
  • 27% of us must take classes or examinations on a regular basis to keep our jobs.

Our Workplace Conditions and Issues

LadderWe need better job guidelines.

24% of us have no job description at all. For those of us who do have a job description,

69% of us have no say about our job descriptions, and

59% often or sometimes must perform work outside our job descriptions.

We're worried about privatization and the contracting out of custodial services. As school districts seek to control expenses, our workloads are increasing, as are inequities among workers in our job group. We're concerned about safety. We work with hazardous chemicals, on ladders and staging, and with electrical hazards.

We need health and safetly information training to keep up with new equipment and work methods, useage of new chemicals, and with changing government regulations.

We are also responsible for the security of students, which means that we often deal with troubled students. We need training on how to respond to situations involving bullying, harassment and threats of violence.

We value opportunities to decide how to do our jobs. We would like more opportunities for advancement, and professional development.


How We Help Make Public Schools Great For Every Student

We help by keeping schools clean and safe for students, staff and the community. In addition to the duties most often associated with our jobs, we perform a dizzying array of other tasks, such as clearing snow, making electrical repairs, cleaning up spills, painting, maintaining boilers and many other necessary activities.

One of our most important responsibilities is to ensure proper indoor air quality, uniform temperatures, and healthful ventilation for our school communities.

Custodial and Maintenance Services ESPs: Who We Are

  • Building and Grounds Maintenance Staff
  • Custodians and Housekeepers
  • Mechanics (except vehicle) and Repairers
  • Laborers, Helpers, and Warehouse Personnel
  • Nonmanagerial Supervisors


Additional Resources

Visit the ESP Publications page and download a copy of the Who We Are brochure to learn more about ESP Careers!

How We Advocate For Students