By Becca Castellano
U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Child and Youth Services will hosted a recruitment fair on October 13th, from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. The monthly fair, which went virtual due to COVID-19, gives interested applicants an opportunity to send a resume directly to local human resources representatives and by-pass the USAJobs website.
Amanda Garrison attended a pre-COVID recruitment fair in hopes of finding employment that would authorize her sofa status.
“I was desperate to find a way to stay in Germany with my parents after college and had applied to several other positions on USAJobs.com but the process was slow,” she said. “With the recruitment fair, they interviewed me on the spot and offered me a job the same week.”
CYS Division Chief Jamie Ruffini said they were surprised with the turnout they have received since going virtual. So far, the team has tentatively filled 20 of 39 crucial vacancies needed to fully staff all CYS facilities. The additional employees will allow CYS to offer care for more children and reopen places like the Kelley School Age Care Center. But Ruffini stressed that even with the new hires, none of the centers can return to full capacity until the Garrison returns to Health Protection Condition Level Alpha.
“Under normal circumstances we must provide 35 square feet of space per child in every room and that is how we determine class sizes,” she said. “Under HPCON Bravo conditions, that number goes up to 42 square feet and now it includes the teachers so it does affect our class sizes greatly.”
Until HPCON Alpha returns, new employees will help to cover the workload that changes in procedures due to COVID-19 have caused. Changes like extra cleaning schedules, facilitating longer breaks for teachers to remove their masks, and escorting children in and out of the building to parents who are no longer allowed inside.
Once shared spaces, like play-grounds, must be sanitized between groups because children and caregivers can only socialize with their assigned “pods.”
“We used to have floaters who would enter different classrooms to give caregivers breaks but because of COVID, we no longer mix our staff between rooms,” said Ruffini who further explained mitigating efforts within each pod. “In the infant and toddler rooms we have one person responsible for changing diapers and another for feedings so that at no point is anyone who has handled a diaper, ever handling food.”
Once fully vetted and trained, new hires will join a pod at their assigned center. Garrison said she looks forward to the much needed help, but also to welcoming them into the CYS family.
“This job was a quick solution to my problem when I applied,” said Garrison who never expected to find her career here. “But I truly believe CYS has given me the tools and support I need to succeed and the opportunity to advance. I love my job.”