EEO/AA Issues & Concerns

  1. Contractual rights under the State's collective bargaining agreements limit affirmative action procedures with regard to hiring and promotion opportunities. The collective bargaining agreements require the State agencies to offer vacant positions internally first, and of the candidates interested, the most senior person who is covered under the collective bargaining agreement gets the position. Although not unique to IDHS, this feature impedes the agencies capacity to assertively address underutilization in positions covered by the various collective bargaining agreements.
  2. The list of eligible persons received from the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) continue to be split between veterans and non-veterans. The CMS requirement is that the veterans' list is "worked" completely before a non-veterans list is released. This is due to the 1996 ruling of the Illinois Supreme Court granting absolute preference to veterans when vacant positions are being filled. This creates a continual barrier because statistically, the majority gender and racial makeup of many CMS veterans' eligibility lists are male/white, thereby potentially excluding employment opportunities for all affirmative action groups, i.e., females, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
  3. The vast majority of employees at IDHS whose job title falls in the Technicians EEO Job Category, where the majority of the Agencies underutilizations fall, are employed as Mental Health Technicians (MHT). These jobs are utilized by IDHS at its 7 facilities for persons with developmental disabilities, 6 mental health centers, a treatment and detention facility for the treatment of sexually violent persons, the School for the Visually Impaired, the School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education. Both job titles require: the knowledge, skill and mental development equivalent to the completion of high school.
    The MHT job requires candidates to pass a two-part written test. The reading comprehension and vocabulary can be challenging for applicants who are not English proficient. Candidates must score at least an 8th grade level on the written test. From past testing experience, IDHS has found this to be particularly challenging for the Asian population that qualifies for this title with only a 33% pass rate. Candidates must also pass a physical agility test to qualify.
    The MHT jobs are considered entry level positions. The work is very difficult and takes compassion and patience. Work examples include physical transfer of patients, light housekeeping duties, assistance with self-help skills like bathing, diaper changing, feeding, etc. and the ability to handle situations of changes in behavior. These positions require the psychological capability to adjust to individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness under certain conditions of maximum security. MHTs and STAs must have the ability to protect themselves and others. It also requires the ability to think clearly and exercise initiative in emergency situations. It is a very tough job and unfortunately there is no good way to test for these types of skill sets. Culturally, MHT and STA jobs might be difficult for some ethnicities to adopt. The treatment and detention facility for sexually violent persons is not an enticing job for females, because the residents being cared for are individuals who have been detained or civilly committed as sexually violent persons. There is also an issue of retention of employees in this job title.
  4. Population data shows an increase of persons in the Asian and Hispanic affirmative action groups in regions of Illinois where there are Colleges and Universities. Subsequently this is where underutilization increases have been observed. Students live in these locations, as their residence during their college career; therefore they are counted in the Census. These numbers are then factored into labor market information, when in fact they are in their current location to obtain a higher education, not necessarily persons looking for a career path.
  5. Competition with the private sector makes it difficult to hire and retain staff, because their salary and benefit offers are more attractive.
  6. IDHS' ability to meet its affirmative action goals is severely limited by prevailing law which makes selection of an affirmative action group based on underutilization needs difficult, if not impossible.