Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center holds rapid hiring event
BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. – Bernalillo County’s Juvenile Detention Center is getting a boost as it faces serious staffing concerns. The facility has been at capacity for weeks.
On Saturday, they were able to make 28 conditional offers, but they’re still at about 49% in terms of full staffing.
Because of this shortage, county leaders have had to limit how many residents they’re able to have. It’s a change that’s happened in just the past two weeks.
“A lot of the time we get hung up on the negative of what’s going on, but there’s so much going on in there that is life changing for the youth that are in our care,” said Bernalillo County Manager of Health & Public Safety Greg Perez.
Bernalillo County leaders are trying to get new employees for its Juvenile Detention Center and keep the ones that are currently there. It’s an effort Perez says comes as their staffing sits at 49%.
“Our hope is that we can get about 40 good candidates out of that, that have a love and a passion for working with children, and get them into the four walls of our facility to keep things going in a positive way,” Perez said.
KOB 4 spoke with Perez about two weeks ago when the center was at capacity with 63 residents. But, on Saturday, the center is at capacity with 48 residents.
Perez says it comes down to their ratio of eight residents to one employee.
“We’ve gone back in and really re-evaluated everything that we’re doing inside of the facility, and we weren’t meeting that ratio, like we needed to. So we’ve really gotten tight. We’ve lost employees too, since we last had our interview, I think we’ve lost close to five employees,” said Perez.
Perez says there are several reasons as to why they’ve lost employees.
“There’s a multitude of reasons, some of it is on us, the environment within the facility has changed a bit over the last couple of months. And I think a lot of the time people realize that maybe this isn’t the line of work that they’re cut out for,” Perez said.
The county has added a $5,000 sign-on bonus for any new recruits but acting director Stanley Gray says they’re also giving current employees incentives to stay on the job.
“We do have like double pay on the weekends, we know how difficult it is right now being held multiple times. Other things that we’ve also done for folks is kind of doing this different, like fun activities, like throughout the month, for Valentine’s Day, right? Putting together a little care package for people. We have like a whole little board on that, hey, if there’s somebody is doing a good job, we have employee appreciation type things,” said Stanley Gray, a Youth Services Center acting director.
Prospective employees like Jay Robinson came in hopes of fulfilling a passion.
“Hopefully, I can get into it and maybe do a little bit more helping in my community. So it seems more like a better fit for me than what I’ve been doing. When working with youth, I was a troubled youth myself, so anybody that can help out? I think it was a good thing to do,” said Robinson.
The Juvenile Detention Center is currently looking for youth program officers. To apply for a job at the Juvenile Detention Center, click here and search Youth Program Officer.