Underutilization Objectives and Steps (Step 5)

  1. IDHS' objective is to provide equal employment opportunities for Hispanics/Latinos and Asians when our Agency fills vacancies that become available in the Technicians EEO Job Category.

    a. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) have created positions and hired two employees of our Agencies human resource team, one in the Northern Region of the State and one in the Southern Region of the State to serve as the Technician Selection Program liaisons for the testing and hiring of Mental Health Technician Trainees (MHTT). The vast majority of employees at IDHS whose job title falls in the Technicians Job Category are employed as Mental Health Technicians (MHT) and Security Therapy Aides (STA). These jobs are utilized by IDHS at its developmental disability facilities, mental health centers and schools for the visually impaired and deaf and hard-of-hearing.

    b. IDHS' Bureau of Recruitment and Selection (BRS) is also regularly using indeed.com to post Technician positions and has seen an increased response from Hispanic/Latino applicants. IDHS' use of social media has never been stronger than it is now. IDHS regularly posts job openings on Twitter, Facebook, Monster.com and indead.com.

    c. IDHS is working closely with the Illinois Department of Employment Security's (IDES) local offices to post job openings and/or submit recruitment flyers regarding the testing and hiring of MHT positions to the public upon visiting their local IDES office, especially to those offices in predominantly Hispanic and Asian areas. The flyer created by BRS and shared with IDES for distribution is in both English and Spanish informing individuals that the Agency is continually, actively recruiting for the position of Mental Health Technician Trainee (Para-Professional EEO Job Category, with semi-automatic promotion moving the title into the Technicians EEO Job Category). The flyer specifically states that IDHS provides instructional classes and on-the-job training in working with people with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities. A High School Diploma or equivalent is required, an explanation of the State of Illinois Benefits is offered and the fact that 5% extra pay is provided for bi-lingual positions. In addition to the flyer, a link was provided directing potential job applicants to the Mental Health Technician Trainee invitation form, job specifications and testing information. A second link takes potential applicants to a test guide that is similar to the IDHS test. And finally, upcoming testing dates and locations are shared with IDES.

    d. As of January 2017, IDHS' BRS has partnered with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), to work in tandem as part of the Illinois Workforce Investment Act (WIA). A pilot program has been created to conduct informational sessions about correctional officer titles with IDOC and MHT titles with IDHS. If a person is interested in applying, computers are made available on the spot for candidates to fill out applications and apply for these underutilized titles. The WIA computer system does all the work by screening and inviting, through e-blasts and registers potential applicants for 20 - 30 minute informational sessions. Local IDES offices in predominantly Hispanic/Latino and Asian areas are being targeted.

    e. IDHS' Technician Recruitment Retention Committee meets monthly to brainstorm on ways to engage employees in areas that will get them mentally and emotionally tied to the Agency. The Committee is looking at conducting "stay interviews" in addition to the current exit interviews, which only show why employees are leaving. The "stay interviews" will help to answer the question of why tenured employees stay. This information will be used to strengthen employee retention strategies. Additionally, IDHS continues to review existing mentoring programs, roadblocks in retention methods, and the utilization and effectiveness of the current questionnaire process. IDHS is in the beginning steps of updating its internet site to create an online application form for Technician Trainee applicants, which can be submitted online. The Committee is also reviewing hiring criteria, because currently, no advanced degree or experience is required, just a high school diploma or equivalent. Candidates being hired for the MHTT title lack the maturity needed for the position. Often times, IDHS loses MHTT within a few weeks of the start of the Tech Class. This wastes IDHS time and efforts and impacts overtime. They are looking at offering open houses, possibly quarterly to allow potential candidates an opportunity to view an empty house and talk with Residential Service Supervisors in depth about what the job entails so that they have realistic expectations.

  2. IDHS' objective is to attract applicants from underutilized groups to our selection process when hiring/promotional opportunities exist, where legally possible through targeted recruitment and outreach efforts. Regardless of race and sex, IDHS is attempting to attract a diverse workforce to the Agency.

    a. IDHS' BRS continues to conduct monthly recruitment activities through job fairs and workshops such as events hosted by Legislators/Members of Congress, Veterans Groups, other State Agencies, Colleges/Universities, and Cultural Centers.

    b. Because of budgetary constraints IDHS' BRS is trying to think outside the box and be creative by putting their best effort forward to come up with recruitment efforts that are free yet potentially address minority and female underutilizations that exist. BRS is limited to only attending job/career fairs and events that are free or events where the fee is waived. BRS however has been taking a new approach by partnering with the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Illinois Department of Employment Security and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services to enhance IDHS' current veteran recruitment and obtain guidance and information to help seek out veteran specific career fairs. This meets a dual purpose for IDHS, by helping to increase the recruitment of veteran hires, and securing potential disabled veterans as possible Successful Disability Opportunity (SD) candidates. In addition to attending veteran job fairs, BRS is also participating in veteran briefings and presentations on the State hiring process. The attendance at these events has been large and the reach out to veterans and persons with disabilities has been phenomenal.

    c. IDHS is strengthening established ongoing relationships with Asian and Hispanic community resources, such as faith based organizations, Asian and Hispanic/Latino Cultural Centers, educational institutions and referrals from Veterans groups.

    d. IDHS' BRS regularly posts job openings on Twitter, Facebook, Monster.com and indead.com. IDHS' use of social media has never been stronger. This advertising platform has seen increased traffic from potential Hispanic/Latino and Asian job prospects.