NHS is a school for students with Autism that regular schools simply cannot handle. These particular students, even though they have occasional behavior issues, can, for the most part, be handled by most of the staff and their teachers. However, in the older classes, the teacher has no assistance to deal with students who are larger and stronger. Unassisted teachers can easily be grabbed and physically injured by a student.
There are also students in other classes with what is referred to as needing "emotional support." These students need way more than that. These students frequently have behavioral outbursts that cause complete stoppage of classwork and, classrooms must be emptied for the safety of the other students. Students in these classes frequently need to be restrained by trained staff members and escorted to safe rooms whenever possible. On most days, restraint of one student can empty and entire classroom and bring ALL classes in the building to a halt while the offending student is closed throughout the building as doors need to be blocked off by staff in order to corner a student.
A typical day is by no means ever typical. Even the school nurse can walk into the building that day and be placed with a student to work as a Personal Care Aide. I was given some training for this type of work but it was not my main job. I was to give medications to students, administer first aid when needed, deal with upkeep of medical records and I was to assess students after
ProsHourly rate was $18.00
ConsNo lunch break, no breaks at all, in constant physical danger even if trained, students allowed to destroy property, no employee safety protocols in place, unvaccinated students, no standards for non-acceptance of students, poor management overall, no benefits
Apply-er Beware! If you like your management clueless and yes man-ish, go for it!
The most enjoyable part of the job was the direct work with clients; that part is always the most rewarding part of jobs such as these, despite how difficult it may be sometimes. The negative parts to the positions I held here stemmed from the top down due to a highly inefficient office that consisted of anyone holding a "director" title being a consistent stream of lies, yes-man attitudes, and manipulative behaviors towards employees and clientele alike. This was the most negative work experience I have ever had, hands down.
I.E., I was hired for a position that was to become a full-time position when a handful of more clients were admitted to the program. I personally admitted most of these clients and never saw this change in work status. Insult was added to injury when clients began dropping rapidly (mostly due to mismanagement by someone above me) and my hours were consistently cut again and again, even the status of clients on my caseload remained unchanged. It was at these times that my caseload would be completely changed to clients I had never met, while some other full-time staff would be given my roster and many of these clients would regress or find new behaviors that set them back somewhere in the fold. I never had an opportunity to do any real good while there because every time I saw progress with a client, they would be shifted off of my caseload for some reason or another, usually just because mismanagement at the office struck, again, and they needed an ex
ProsAn occasional free lunch was the only benefit I ever saw during my time there
ConsAnything where I wasn't doing direct client work, No benefits, No vacation time, Inconsistent pay
Unethical, unappreciated, undervalued and inappropriate place to work
Where to start?
Daily activities: No two days are ever the same. You will be instructed to do one thing with a student and 2 hours later be told something completely different. It isn’t any wonder none of the students make any progress towards goals. If their parents or school districts knew how very little instruction or attention was spent on students, not to mention how many IEP’s are violated on a daily basis this place wouldn’t exist.
Coworkers: The people actually inside the classrooms are great. Teachers, other BT’s, classroom aide and senior BT are all phenomenal. You can’t find a more dedicated and hard working group of people! Directors are basically just puppets for senior leadership. They regurgitate they do’s and don’ts and always always always end speeches with “...or else there will be disciplinary action as per senior leadership...” so nice to know that there’s always a target on your back!! The secretary is in a constant state of panic because she’s managing 4 different offices and has enough work for 4 people but because Merakey only cares about the almighty dollar she’s as overworked and underpaid as everyone else on the front lines.
Senior leadership: Oh how lovely it must be to sit in a white tower and click away on your Merakey issued top of the line laptop and use your Merakey issued Apple iPhone to work remotely from anywhere (poolside, from home!) and determine what all your minions should be doing with students. No one in senior leadership care
ProsA few good staff, job stability, if you last long enough to actually see your first paycheck.
ConsNo breaks, no benefits, no consistency, no appreciation, no care. Everything about this job is a con!
Best in the area, if you are willing to settle for less
Northwestern Academy provides a fairly decent job experience, if you are willing to put up with a number of issues. This is probably the best employment opportunity in the immediate area, but it does come with it's drawbacks. The pay is good for this area, but because NHS is a private company it is in no way in line with what the state pays for the same work. The benefits are the really attractive part of working here, as they are in line or better than what most local companies offer. But this does not make up for the negatives involved with working for NHS. I gave them one star in the cultures/values area. On the surface, the company seems to have a very rigid and detailed set of values regarding the treatment of residents and the standards which the company holds itself to. But the lack of support from management regarding even the tiniest issue sheds light on how things really are. Not to mention that "I'm out for myself and no one else" attitude that seems to include all levels of management is quite discouraging. I gave them 3 stars in the area of job security/advancement. There is room for advancement, but you have to wait for people to leave the company before it is available. That isn't so different from most companies. And for the most part you have job security, as long as you "play ball". What I mean by that is that if you get on the bad side of the wrong person, including any level of management, you really need to fear for your job. I have experienced first hand
Prosgood benefits, chance to help youth turn their lives around
The position keeps you busy from the moment you start your shift to the end of your shift. As you gain experience working in the position you’ll have the opportunity to influence someone’s life and the amount of resources you’ll gather is great alongside with building relationships with people from other agencies. This is where the positive aspect of the job ends. The cons are too many. Once you get a full case load you’ll be completely overwhelmed because of the needs that the participants have are beyond mental health and you’ll be responsible for it. The workplace is completely unprofessional, managers don’t know what they are doing nor want to provide any support when you need it so you are forced to figure it out on your own or ask another case manager that has been there for over a few years but experienced case managers keep leaving. Managers only sit around their desks doing nothing but push more paperwork and complain that documents aren’t turned in on time. The quantity of the paperwork keeps increasing every few months and management has the expectation of turning them in on time along with meeting the participants which breaks the work life balance. If you have a crisis situation management would not care, they would often state to document the incident since they don’t have any probIem solving skills. Including management all administrative staff have a poor sense of professionalism, they gossip about case managers, they often harass case managers to get document
ProsProductivity and resources
ConsNo breaks, Lots of useless paperwork, Incompetent and unprofessional management team, Highly stressful, No work life balance
They make you feel so guilty if you need a personal day, have an emergency and/or call in sick.
Pay & benefits
Absolutely no benefits. No raises.
Job security and advancement
Definitely not a secure job! It takes a special person to deal with day to day problems that come about in Merakey.
Management? What’s that? Absolutely NO management whatsoever. You live and work through everything day by day. You have a question? No one will ever give you a real answer. You just have to do what YOU think is best or you need to figure it out all yourself. Definitely unorganized! It’s a stress fest.
Staff and classrooms a year ago were absolutely amazing, everyone worked together, accepted eachother, problem solved together everything was great it was a place I wanted to be at until drastic changes had occurred... Now we all compete with eachother, try to one eachother up, no one gets along, talk about Cliques 🙄 it’s embarrassing. Our manager also does not consult anyone but her favored staff about any big changes we are making, when she’s confronted about not informing everyone as she should, she responds like a 2 year old child and nit picks at that person who wants/ and needs informed like her favored staff... basically embarrasses you in front of everyone instead of pulling people aside in a professional manner and place to discuss things. Just absolutely terrible.
Merakey at Eastfreedom used to be a very amazing place to work. Your s
My job as a Community Health Liaison requires me to work with adult individuals struggling with medical and mental health challenges. I educate, advocate, and monitor the physical and mental health needs of participants. I must be flexible in working with a team of professionals and resource providers to meet the needs of each participant. A 15 minute doctor appointment may turn into a complex 5 hour assessment with multiple tests. I often have to make immediate decisions and prioritize the health needs of up to 3 participants in the day's schedule and reschedule the following appointments for that day. I report, by phone, essential participant information to case managers as they occur.
I have learned that participant education and active responsibility does minimize hospitalization and improves self esteem, diminishing thoughts and feelings of being a victim of society and becoming a part of society.
I have an exceptional reputation in working with my peers. My co-workers are not limited to other Community Health Liaisons, but include all team members that assist in maximizing the independence of the target population, including doctor's, therapist, case managers, nurses, landlords, and neighbors.
The hardest part of the job is when participants die, without realizing their self worth. Another difficult part of this job is when participants are miserable with symptoms of their challenges, mental or physical. When the symptoms aren't relieved with treatments for m
NHS was a decent place to work at first. It gave me some great experience with running group therapy sessions, of which we did 4 one-and-one-half hour sessions per day with the residents. The biggest problem I experienced with working at NHS was that at the LTSR site where I worked, there were not enough staff to go around and it meant that those of us who were on shift had to do the work of 2 or 3 people a lot of the time. This was because the new management regime was incompetent and were unable to treat employees with respect and decency, causing there to be a huge turnover rate at the LTSR. They could not keep people because they demanded way too much of any one person and new hires would often become overwhelmed very quickly and just not come back to work.
Another major issue was the inconsistency of enforcing rules and regulations at the LTSR. Each member of management would do things differently and would enforce some rules and not others. This would then filter down through the ranks so that every staff member would be doing things differently from another in regards to working with the residents. This caused a great deal of confusion and strife among the residents of the LTSR as well as among all staff members.
Overall, it was a great confusing muddle of a workplace with a director that was completely incompetent in her post. She was never able to give a direct answer to a question, but would talk in circles and skirt the direct issue whenever possible. She may h
Prosdecent experience facilitating mental health groups, free meals
Consno breaks, long shifts, difficult management, confusing scheduling
Direct Service Provider | DuBois, PA | Feb 28, 2015
Worst Job I've EVER had.
During my interview I was assured I would be workong no less than thirty hours a week. While working there I was assured more client's and therefore more hours. This was never delivered. I averaged 20 hours a week. I was expected to take client's shopping, out to dinner, to the movies, bowling. Client's pay for themselves I drive my car, pick the client up, pay for myself, and then take the client home. I was NEVER reimbursed for my expenses or milage. I live near clearfield and I was attending to clients from Bellefonte to Dubois. I had to drive to Dubois once a week to deliver paperwork. My paycheck was NEVER deposited on time. It literally cost me more to work for NHS than they paid me. When I complained about not being reimbursed I was told I filled the paperwork out incorrectly and when I was at the office no one was available to help me correct it. My direct supervisor had no idea why the logs were filled out incorrectly or what I would need to change on my next one in order to receive the reimbursement. I was also frequently called to Dubois to attend mandatory ten to fifteen minute meetings. Keep in mind I am a 45 minute drive from the office and in order to attend these meeting I would have to cut client times short or cancel them. Once a week I would drive over an hour to Bellefonte to take my client to a doctors appointment or grocery shopping and when I arrived the client would not answer the door or refuse to leave the house with me. When this happens I get paid
High turn-over in office, lack of organization, communication and overall leadership.
I was employed at Merakey from May 2021 - December 2021. For me, the place was toxic and I couldn't spend anymore of my time, which is the most valuable thing I have, working there.
In that short time I was there the team, not the office, the team I was a part of had four employees leave. I couldn't say how many people in the office overall left in that time but it happened. That should say something to leadership yet nothing was ever done, to my knowledge, to enforce a positive change for employees and help prevent the high turn-over rate.
Communication was a joke. The office was an unorganized mess when I arrived. It's a wonder anything was accomplished. There were constant, last-minute, mandatory changes/tasks that were required to be implemented or completed in a short timeframe. I'll mention that these changes proved to be nowhere near ready to be rolled out, which would cause many hiccups and slow down productivity. Only a handful of employees were able to keep up on a regular basis, which leadership would use those outliers as reasons to not change/improve things. There was also an unhealthy amount of unwillingness for some employees in regards to expressing grievances to or questioning leadership. I do understand this as most of the times I asked questions or expressed a grievance I would receive a generic non-answer such as "that's how it's always been," or "it is what it is." Probably a factor in the high turnover.
Only benefit of working there for me was the b
ConsUnorganized, Poor Leadership, Poor Communication
Questions And Answers about Merakey
What is the best part of working at Merakey?
Asked Dec 28, 2019
Answered Jul 1, 2022
Capped caseload of 35
Answered Jul 1, 2022
What is the work environment and culture like at Merakey?
Asked Jul 28, 2016
It was probably the worst out of anywhere I've ever worked. My own mental health was affected, because of how I was treated.
Answered Jun 5, 2021
DANGEROUS. You will be physically and mentally harmed as a behavior technician. Merakey’s autism schools and centers are unethical and unsafe. Avoid at all costs.
Answered Aug 1, 2020
Why did you leave your job at NHS Human Services?
Asked Mar 27, 2017
How they treat not only the clients but staff, is completely ridiculous.
Answered Oct 13, 2021
Ethically, I can’t tolerate that the autism schools are violating laws. Shut this place down yesterday because they are abusing their students.
Answered Sep 12, 2020
What is the interview process like at Merakey?
Asked Aug 6, 2016
Positive experience upfront, but looking back it was very misleading.
Answered Jun 5, 2021
My interview experience at Merakey was a positive one.
The Director asked me multiple questions related to my Clinical skills, strengths-areas for growth, as well as future goals I’m interested in pursuing.
I was grateful because I recently graduated with 2 Masters and was excited to start in an Outpatient Clinic as a new setting. Previously I had experience in Elementary & HS as a Clinician, TSS-BHW, and counselor.
Short version: Overall my experience was great at NHS/Merakey.
I appreciate quality/competent supervisors and when I have a GOOD supervisor I’m abundantly grateful. They support my clinical work and encourage my growth.
Answered Jul 11, 2020
What is the pay rate to start
Asked Jul 4, 2016
Administrator Assistant 12 Authorization Coordinator 15 Program assistant 14.50 but if you work at Hammond you are expected to do all three jobs for one pay and do additional jobs.
Answered Jan 10, 2019
They pay one rate if you are in-session and a far less rate if you do anything else related to the job. I was not told that in the beginning.