If you are in Texas and interested in pursuing a career with the Health and Human Services Commission, the umbrella organization beneath which four other agencies also rest, this is the link to the hiring center: HR Access. This works in IE only. I can get it to work in Firefox sometimes, but resign yourself to IE if you want to be sure it works correctly.
Click on the link for external applicants on the right, and you'll see drop down boxes split by state agency, category, city, location, blah blah blah.
Now, to the part I am pimping; Texas is hiring clerks at the Clerk III and above level and caseworkers at Texas Works Advisor II level for Texas Works, which handles Food Stamps (now known as SNAP, don't ask), TANF, and Medicaid for children and families, and is also hiring Medicaid Eligibility Specialists, who handle Medicaid for the elderly, the disabled, nursing homes, and etc. These jobs are under HHSC in Agency.
Oh, direct link: we're hiring caseworkers! And some other stuff, as you can see. Start value is $2200 per month, you'll do three months accumulated training, though they switch around whether you do all three months at once or over the course of a year or two--it's very strange and based on weird educational theories (again, don't ask) and office need.
The start value for a clerk is $1881 per month. I think there is a clerical test you have to do. Let us say, if you can read this, that means you can type, and we're done here.
The state provides insurance, retirement, access to 401(k) and 457, you accumulate one day of sick leave and one day of annual leave monthly and that amount increases the longer you are with the state (we call it tenure), overtime is not a problem and some cities, though not all, have a paid overtime option instead of just overtime that means you get literal leave, which is useful if you like taking two week vacations. There are holidays! Promotion is not difficult if you are at least mediocre or fake it extremely well and there is access to educational leave. And promotions can be fairly fast. I speak as someone who jumped a lot of paygrades in less than five years very fast, especially if you live in or are close to a major city.
Having a degree is not a requirement. Work experience is good. Clerical experience or work in any social service public, private, volunteer is golden, but again, not a requirement. For Clerk III, I think you just need to be breathing, to be honest.
If you apply for a clerical position, pretty much anything goes. You might work front desk (see my LJ, April 2003 to February 2004 for details under the tag work), you might work file room, you might do pretty much anything. It is freakishly busy, your day will go very, very fast, and if you have an anal bone in your body, you will fall in love with the file room and organizing cases. If you don't know basic Spanish, you will learn. It just happens.
If you apply for a caseworker position, you will determine eligibility for SNAP (that's food stamps, btw), TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families), and Medicaid for families, for children, and for pregnant women. You will learn basic timeliness and policy, but more importantly, you will learn how to locate things in the handbook, both a paper version you will learn to adore highlighting and an online version that you can search with google. You will learn to determine eligibility on paper with a pencil (I still can) as well as on a computer. You will interview the entire range of humanity. Your caseload when you've been working six months will be between eight and sixteen cases a day, sometimes more depending on office, some of which will take ten minutes, some will take the full hour. You will learn to interview people, access data on a variety of interfaces, and stare at small children running in your office (have a couple of coloring books ready). You will do overtime. You will do a lot overtime. There is already a system of organization in place passed down from the first caseworkers back in the days we did things on stone tablets. Trust me when I say, you will love it. Also, you will probably get an office to decorate!
Both these jobs, you will have coworkers who will be your comrades in the trenches of welfare policy, dress code shenanigans, and Christmas Cookie exchanges (email me how to do that; it's fun!).
What You Should Know:
1.) It isn't easy. It's not hard either. It's confusing ocassionally, weird a lot, sometimes you will wonder what crack the legislature is smoking (cheap shit, apparently), and it's deeply hilarious. It looks terrifying and too much for one person to learn. It's really not.
2.) Interviewing only sounds stressful; I was scared to death of that part. That became one of my favorite parts.
3.) You will meet crazy people. They won't always be your coworkers, but usually, they will be.
4.) We like keeping people and hopefully hiring their offspring and their offspring's offspring (three generations working at HHSC is surprisingly common). HHSC is very much family friendly. Your mentor and your coworkers really want you to succeed, because if you leave they take your caseload and that sucks. Trust me when I say, there are few jobs where everyone really wants to keep you around for as long as humanly possible. They may offer snacks.
5.) We like promoting from within the agency. With caseworker experience, you can do pretty much anything, because most of the positions either require you to have casework experience or really prefer it a lot. A degree is not required for most jobs, but there's educational leave! Go get one if you have time.
6.) It's stressful, exhausting, miserable, and occasionally, you will want to say die in a fire without meme or irony. It's also amazing, fun, and interesting. You will not get bored, and I say this as someone who has the attention span of a gnat. Your day will pass like you would not believe. You will interview fascinating people, work with crazy people (and sometimes reverse those), and if you don't know how to be painfully sarcastic in ways that will fly over people's heads all the time, you will learn really fast.
7.) You will have a lot of data for stupid internet arguments on welfare.
8.) It's one of the few jobs where you will change someone's life every day. Pretty good stats, I think.
The application is available online and I'm pretty sure you can submit it online unless HRAccess went down again. Create an account at the link, then you may start your journey. And if you aren't interested in casework, there are a lot of possibilities in all the agencies you can check out.
Anyone who decides to apply--good luck!