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Screening & Information Specialist I - Overnight & Weekends

Department: Information & Referral

Position Description

As part of our CBA services, HRiA manages an extensive portfolio of behavioral health initiatives, including statewide substance use helplines in Vermont and substance use and problem gambling helplines in Massachusetts and Illinois. The Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances (Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery) was launched in 2017, building upon our experience operating the MA Substance Use Helpline (Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services) for over 23 years. HRiA launched the Vermont Helplink (Vermont Department of Health, Division of Substance Use Programs) in 2019. HRiA began operating the MA Problem Gambling Helpline (Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Office of Problem Gambling Services) in 2020 and the Illinois Problem Gambling Helpline in 2022.

The Helpline contact center is the hub for the Helplines. Screening & Information Specialists (SIS) comprise most of the contact center team and respond to incoming Helpline inquiries. Four Contact Center Supervisors provide Helpline services and provide direct supervision to a portion of the SIS team. Two Masters-level Clinicians supervise a portion of the SIS, implement follow-up services, and provide additional coverage and support. Additional Helpline team members deliver and support program operations, marketing and communication, web management, and data analysis and management, supervision, and leadership. The larger team is overseen by the Managing Director, Behavioral Health. 

To learn more about HRiA and our helplines, visit the following:
• HRiA: www.hria.org 
• IL Problem Gambling Helpline: www.WeKnowTheFeeling.org
• MA Problem Gambling Helpline: www.GamblingHelplineMA.org
• IL Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances: www.HelplineIL.org 
• VT Helplink: www.VTHelplink.org
• MA Substance Use Helpline: www.HelplineMA.org

We are seeking SIS for the MA Helplines, the IL Helplines, and VT Helplink. We refer to these projects collectively as “the Helplines.” SIS establish rapport with consumers who have substance use, gambling, or related concerns via the phone, text, & online chat, elicit relevant information to accurately assess needs, gather and record data, provide referrals to appropriate services, and support consumers by encouraging them to follow through with accessing the referred services.

This is an hourly, non-exempt, full- or part-time position with a starting hourly pay rate of $21-$24 an hour, based on skills and experience. The SIS may work remotely or in our Boston-based office. All HRiA staff who work in the Boston office and/or conduct in-person work activities must be up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations. The candidate will be required to show proof of vaccination upon hire (unless eligible for a religious or medical exemption).

Candidates based in Illinois, Vermont or Massachusetts are strongly encouraged to apply.

Position Description:
Helpline SIS are the heart of our contact center. SIS respond to incoming calls, online chat, and SMS text messages from individuals seeking information about, and assistance with, accessing substance use or gambling disorder services for themselves, a family member or friend, and/or a client. SIS assess Helpline consumers’ needs in a conversational manner, using motivational interviewing techniques, and work with the consumer to determine the most appropriate prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and/or recovery support services based on the consumer’s unique needs and goals. They then identify available options (through the Helplines’ databases) and refer consumers to those services. The SIS provide accurate information, education, support, and referrals in a non-judgmental, respectful, and culturally aware manner. SIS may also assist with other Helpline projects and duties as needed or available. Examples include assisting in training new staff, updating the Helpline databases, attending outreach events, and participating in hiring processes. Overnight & weekend positions are available. SIS working more than 17.5 hours per week (half-time or greater) are eligible for HRiA benefits.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Project Work 
  • Assess the needs of Helpline users by telephone, online chat, and SMS texting.
  • Provide appropriate information and referrals to substance use, gambling disorder, mental health, and related services.
  • Reliably staff the Helpline as scheduled. 
  • Engage and motivate users to follow through on referrals through use of active listening and motivational interviewing techniques.
  • Obtain feedback on interactions with Helpline users.
  • Provide service availability information and other provider details through approved sources. 
  • Gather and record data from users in Helpline database.
  • Verify users’ insurance status, as applicable.
  • Assist in updating Helpline database of state licensed and approved substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support services as appropriate.
  • Escalate consumers interactions to Helpline clinicians and/or supervisor when applicable.
  • Represent the Helpline at outreach events, meetings, and/or presentations as needed.
Thought Leadership 
  • Continue to build and develop expertise in substance use disorders
  • Suggest ideas/improvements through participation in teams and committees 
  • Consistently attend and actively participate in Helpline meetings and other activities to develop skills and make suggestions for project enhancements.
  • Participate in hiring processes for new Helpline staff as needed. 
  • Assist in the training and mentoring of new Helpline staff as needed.
New Business Development 
  • Maintain updated resume and bio for use in new business proposals.
  • Assist with technical components of new business proposals as needed.
Candidate Qualifications
  • 3-5 years related experience (lived or professional) in the fields of Substance Use, Recovery, Problem Gambling, and/or Harm Reduction Services, or bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Social Work, Human Services, or related field in lieu of experience. 
  • Experience in information and referral services, customer service, counseling, substance use, or human services required. 
  • Customer/consumer focused with excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Good computer skills and experience and/or ability to use online systems and databases.
• Certified Resource Specialist (through AIRS) preferred or willingness to obtain within one year of hire.
• Openness to information that may be different from personal views. 
  • Willingness to work with consumers who may be ambivalent, impaired, or have psychological disorders.
  • Openness to providing information about a variety of treatment options and paths to recovery based on a caller’s needs. 
  • Respectful of cultural differences and value diversity of thought, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  • High ethical standards and a willingness to comply with professional expectations and boundaries.
  • Ability to adapt to changes in work environment and expectations. 
  • Demonstrated history of dependability. 
  • Two years of sobriety for people in recovery.
  • Bilingual (primarily in English/Spanish) a plus. 
  • Preference will be given to applicants with flexible and/or weekend and overnight availability.
• Massachusetts, Vermont, or Illinois residency is a plus, but not required. 

Training in addiction, screening, interviewing, treatment services, and resources is available. Hours for this role vary and may include weekend and overnight shifts. The Helplines currently operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This description is intended to indicate the kinds of work duties that will be required in this position. It is not intended to limit, or in any way modify, the rights of any supervisor to assign, direct, and contract work of staff under his/her supervision. The use of a particular illustration describing duties shall not be held to exclude other duties, not mentioned, that are of a similar level or difficulty.

Procedure for Candidacy
HRiA is actively seeking to build a diverse and experienced staff. HRiA encourages multiple perspectives and experiences, supports a multicultural environment, and strives to hire and retain a diverse work force that reflects the populations we work with and the communities where we work. Diversity is a core value of HRiA resulting in culturally competent services, materials, resources, and programs. Our hiring and business practices appreciate the strengths offered through different backgrounds. 

HRiA offers an attractive benefits package including medical, dental and life insurance, retirement plan, tax-deferred annuity, and generous annual vacation that starts at four weeks in addition to three weeks of annual sick time, 13 paid holidays, plus office closure time during the last week of December.

Generally, our interviews take place between 9am-5pm ET. If you are contacted for an interview, please let us know if this timeframe is a challenge, so we can work with the interview team to find alternatives. 

To apply, submit your resume and cover letter online.


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