March 14, 2005
ATLANTA (GA) – The Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR), led by Commissioner B.J. Walker, is upgrading its Child Protective Services staff through new training and certification programs, salary increases, and a streamlined hiring process, all aimed at attracting and retaining well-qualified caseworkers. An innovative centralized hiring strategy that takes this effort a giant step further is underway as a pilot project in the nine-county Metro Atlanta area. The new approach, developed and implemented by DHR’s Office of Human Resource Management and Development (OHRMD), cuts the time required to fill a vacant caseworker position from months to a week or two, by eliminating unnecessary paperwork and maintaining a central pool of selected applicants.
“We are finding many well-qualified people who want to join us in the important work of protecting children and helping families,” says OHRMD director Rosa Waymon. “Every position left vacant too long increases the caseload for remaining staff. Previously, even though we had the funding to fill those vacancies the burden was on local managers to attract and screen applicants. Now, through a centralized team effort we can recruit for and staff those positions much more efficiently, and we’ve made the application process easier for job-seekers.”
DHR had already streamlined its procedures so that applicants can first send a resume to OHRMD by email instead of filling out the state’s detailed paper application form. Those who pass an initial screening are interviewed by phone. If they make a good impression and are still interested, they are invited to send in the application form and references.
The next step for most DHR jobs is a face-to-face interview with a program manager. For the Metro Atlanta caseworker positions, however, a panel from OHRMD and the Division of Family and Children Services interviews the candidates. Those who pass the final interview join a pool for training and assignment to the next available opening, taking into consideration the counties where they say they would prefer to work.
“Using the new system, we recruited and qualified 287 people during January alone,” says Bill Krysak, OHRMD’s Recruitment and Selection Services manager. “By mid-May the first group will have finished their training and we’ll be ready to place them. Most qualified applicants were hired and in the pool within one or two weeks after we received a resume.”
Interested job seekers can find the social services caseworker position advertised on DHR’s employment Web page: www.dhrjobs.com. “It’s easy to apply through our Web page, and it’s popular,” says Krysak. “The page received close to two million hits in February. Anyone who wants to work with children and families should take a look. We always need caseworkers throughout the state, not just in Metro Atlanta, and there are other jobs listed as well.”
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