SPRINGFIELD – Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich? Better yet, who doesn’t love an employer who plans to serve them up April 12 hot off the griddle on National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day?
This is what senior and other departmental staff at the Mental Health Association, 995 Worthington St., will be doing Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. as a taste-filled nod of appreciation for employees with a side of promotion for MHA as a supportive, colleague-minded environment in which to work.
The nonprofit provides services to the developmentally disabled, the acquired brain injured, individuals with substance use disorders and mental health conditions as well as the chronically homeless. It employs more than 500 full- and part-time workers and is in the process of expanding a number of programs in a tight job market that has employers offering sign-on bonuses and other incentives.
“We want to be the place new graduates consider as well as individuals looking to make a career move,” said Kimberley Lee, MHA Vice President of Resource Development and Branding. “We have been voted the best nonprofit and best place to work for four years in a row and our celebration of National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day is a way to highlight the many ways we work to be an employee-appreciative environment which is key to both recruiting and retaining staff.
“The event is about the grilled cheese, and about really recognizing the incredible work and the difficult work our employees do every day,” she went on. “It is one of those moments between merit raises and bonuses that we do for employees, along with other special days and monthly prizes, to say thank you and add to their plate in a positive way.”
MHA operates close to two dozen residential programs, is grant funded to expand its housing supports and is in the process of plans to move its behavioral health outreach center to larger quarters to meet demand across age groups for services.
It is looking to hire for numerous positions, including program managers, direct care workers, clinicians and peer recovery coaches.
“Recruitment is very difficult right now, though our efforts are drawing a response,” Lee said. “Ultimately, it is the culture and environment of an organization that retains people and MHA is a great place to work with a wonderful environment. It’s a pretty tasty option if you ask me!”