Help Wanted: Lund seeks social workers

Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 6:03 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2022 at 7:42 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Mental health needs, substance abuse, and domestic violence are all on the rise, but a local residential treatment center says they’re only running at half-capacity because they just don’t have the staff. As part of our ongoing series on high-demand jobs, Kayla Martin visited the Lund Family Center in Burlington.

Kylee Rowden, a residential counselor at Lund, says many of their clients are in dire situations when they reach out for help. “Waiting in prison, in state-run hotels, shelters -- domestic violence shelters, occasionally they are couch surfing,” Rowden said.

Many are in unsafe situations and separated from their children, adding more stress to these parents and strain to state resources. “There are not enough foster families for the amount of children that are in the foster care system,” Rowden said.

While they need help now, Rowden says Lund currently has no available overnight support staff and only two to three counselors working those shifts. Rowden recalls a recent shift when three clients went into labor in one night, leaving just one counselor to watch the entire residential building. “She’s like, ‘I need to go now!’ She delivered within 45 minutes of making it to the hospital,” she said. “So that is trial of not being fully staffed on the overnights -- why it is so important for us to get these positions filled.”

But Lund is not getting new applicants, and some of those who do show interest don’t follow through. “I email them, I call them multiple times but i don’t hear back from half of the people that apply,” said Jackie Giles, an executive assistant at Lund. “It’s draining, it’s putting our staff in a crisis of burnout.”

And Rowden says it’s not sustainable. “Our bodies are not created to work overnight,” she said.

Full-time overnight shifts consist of four, 10-hour shifts, with three consecutive days off. Rowden says the schedule isn’t for everyone but that it does have its advantages. “I was able to go to school full-time while working full-time and attending my internship,” she said.

Lund provides late-night child care for crying and nursing babies so parents can sleep. “It is hard to get a tired parent to participate in treatment,” Rowden said.

They have three overnight, four daytime, and three evening positions open across various departments. Lund is offering a hiring bonus. “Every residential counselor that gets hired will get an extra $1,000 paid out over time,” Giles said. Those who refer a friend who gets hired get an additional $500. Base pay is between $16 and $18 an hour based on education and experience, plus an extra $2.50 an hour for overnight and weekends. They are looking for applicants with a college degree or those working towards one.

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