DHHS hosts YRTC job fair amid program restructuring

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 5:51 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - With the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center restructuring to include better programming and enhance staff, the Department of Health and Human Services held a drive-thru job fair in Kearney on Thursday to fill open positions.

DHHS was at the MONA from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. trying to fill several vacancies at the YRTC in Kearney. Most of the open slots are for their program specialist position. It’s a role that works on-site with the youth to provide support and coping skills to help them move back home. They also have some custodial and on-site cooking jobs available.

“We’ve got about 20 health youth program specialists open right now on varying shifts," DHHS Recruiter LaDene Madson said. "We’re in the process of changing the program a little bit and enhancing the service delivery, so we’ve got some new opportunities available.”

The job is known to be challenging to rehabilitate these youth back into society, but the YRTC equips its employees to handle the responsibility.

“We provide lots of training to staff so that they can develop these skills, motivational interviewing is the training we provide, so they can help coach the youth to make better decisions, to have better outcomes,” Madson said.

People who stopped by the fair received info on open jobs, filled out a card for a follow-up and were directed to online resources.

“The youth program specialist pays $16 an hour, $16.01 to be exact, full-time great benefits, health insurance, you get 12 paid vacation days a year, 12 paid days a year, 12 holidays a year," said Madson. "We have dental and vision, health like I said, a retirement program that you can’t compete with anybody else.”

The YRTC has had a higher job turnover rate during COVID-19. Recruiters think employees who were planning on leaving before the pandemic, feel more comfortable to move on with the state re-opening.

The job is open 24/7, and most employees have to work the night shift, but recruiters said this job is more than a paycheck. Program specialists are building relationships and helping the youth succeed.

“Staff get very connected to the youth, and develop good solid relationships," Madson said. "We had a gentlemen who called me just this week. He worked for us a couple of years ago and left, moved out-of-state, was coming back to Kearney, and we were the first place he called. He loved the job that he had.”

Recruiters were disappointed with the turnout of Thursday’s job fair. They had less than 10 people show up, but they plan to have more events in the future to help fill open positions.

People who are interested in applying for a job at the YRTC can visit the DHHS website for more information.

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