FORT RILEY, Kan. -- As Fort Riley's workforce numbers change seasonally, the Child and Youth Services staff grow alongside.

Child and Youth Services from the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Civilian Personnel Advisory Center worked together to speed up the hiring process of new child care providers with a hiring fair as more than two dozen positions were open Jan. 9.

"The intent of the hiring fair is to expedite the process of hiring direct care staff for our CYS programs," said Michelle Durgin, CYS coordinator.

The hiring process is condensed from three to four weeks down to a matter of days, Durgin said. This is due to the on-site fingerprinting, background checks and in-person interviews.

"We do interviewing on-site and we have great support for our CPAC here," Durgin said. "They come on site, people apply, they build us a list (and) we do interviews. We can make a tentative selection today based on the information we have. We still have to do things like get reference checks -- things like that -- but it really has helped to expedite the process, which has been great."

She said they had about 25 open slots, but will select approximately 45 applicants.
The low numbers of open spaces are due to stable staffing, she said. The hiring event was to assist with upcoming increase in the warmer months of service members undergoing a permanent change of station from Fort Riley.

"We have struggled with staffing," Durgin said. "We have actually managed to stabilize a bit, but we also anticipate the upcoming PCS season and we know we are going to lose staff -- as well as (during) increase deployments."

She said the new hires will become the flex pool of staff. Meaning they would not have immediate hours, but they are on call and available to cover leave and block-leave so training can be completed.

Each new hire will undergo a series of training classes because CYS is an accredited child care provider.

"So we have a training program that helps transform you into a child care specialist so you understand what our rules and regulations are," Durgin said. "We are required by the Military Childcare Act to be accredited nationally. So we go through the National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation process, the Child and Youth Development and Accreditation for School Age Programs."

These training mechanisms are in place so anyone can become a certified child care provider -- the only request is new hires like working with kids.

"The baseline requirements to work for CYS -- fresh off the street -- is that you are 18, you have a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development diploma or certificate), you can stand for long periods of time and lift 40-pounds, as well as pass our background checks," she said. "If you can do those things, we have a robust training program that will take you from someone with no experience with kids or the only experience with kids as a babysitter or as a sister, mom."

Kavon Wallace, wife of Sgt. Erik Wallace, 97th Military Police Battalion, attended the hiring event. She said during her childhood her mother had a day care. This made her grow to love working with kids.

"I love children," Wallace said. "I've always had an interest in working with children."

To those who are interested in applying for direct child care, she said if someone loves to work with children they should find a way to do so.
Durgin said the Jan. 9 hiring event was only to hire direct care, but CYS offers a wide range of positions.

"The CYS also has administrative positions, it has director positions, cook positions and things like that," she said. "The way we have it set up right now this is primarily just to let people who want to work in classroom with kids."

By midway through the day, Durgin and her team filled over half of the positions.
For more information about working at CYS, visit keyword NAF and location 66442. For information on the next CYS hiring fair, call 785-239-9885.