Pros: great coworkers, fulfilling career, extensive training, good pay
Cons: limited advancement, high turnover, upper admin inaccessible, demanding of time
Out of all the brokerage agencies in the Eugene/Springfield area, Alvord-Taylor provides the highest level of support, best quality of life, and has the most extensive training program. Training is ongoing, and staff are offered opportunities to attend outside trainings, seminars, and workshops. The problem many people have with this job is expecting it to be a "caregiver" type of position. Direct support is not caregiving. It isn't even in the same ballpark as caregiving. Direct support professionals work to help people achieve on their own.
One day could be spent teaching somebody to balance his checkbook, and the next spent accompanying a supported person to guitar lessons. The work is fun and very fulfilling. There can be some violent episodes with some people, but it is rare. Staff are well-trained to work through any situation, and behavior specialists work hard to write comprehensive support plans.
When a person really shines at the job, they become almost a commodity of sorts. The job can easily turn into a 60 hour per week job instead of 40. A dedicated staff member can be called in to cover shifts almost every day. Bonuses are paid for relief shift coverage, but all that work can burn a person out quickly, and there is no loyalty from above. At Alvord-Taylor, admin judges staff by the last mistake made. You may have helped managers out of scheduling binds, and assisted a supported person to ride the bus on their own, but what will be remembered is your last medication error.
Management has a very large turnover rate. There is a lot of pressure on managers, and little – more... support. The longest serving manager has been in the position just over two years. Admin hires most managers from outside the agency, and many new managers have never worked in a human services position before.
Coworkers are great. The front-line employees are excellent at the job. I work with over two-hundred people that I enjoy being around. People who do not do the job well leave quickly, as this isn't the type of job a person can fake.
Overall I love working for Alvord-Taylor. It is my coworkers and people I assist that make me love coming to work each day. – less