Screening & Information Specialist – Full time and Part time

Brief Overview:

We are seeking SIS for the MA Helplines, the IL Helpline, and VT Helplink. We refer to these projects collectively as “the Helplines.” SIS establish rapport with consumers who have substance use, gambling, or related concerns via the phone, text, & online chat, elicit relevant information to accurately assess needs, gather and record data, provide referrals to appropriate services, and  support consumers by encouraging them to follow through with accessing the referred services.

Position Description:

HRiA operates four state-wide Helplines focused on increasing access to behavioral health treatment, prevention, harm reduction, and recovery services through confidential, compassionate, and accurate information & referral services. The Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline (MA Helpline) has been in operation for over 20 years, while the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances (IL Helpline) is a newer project that was launched in December 2017. Furthermore, we launched the Vermont Helplink Alcohol & Drug Support Center (VT Helplink) in January 2020. In July of 2020, HRiA expanded Massachusetts Helpline services to include problem gambling. In September 2020, the VT Helplink expanded services to connect health care professionals with mental health services.  We continuously roll out enhancements to meet the needs of the states’ residents as well as to build awareness of our innovative services. We anticipate continued growth and development of our team and our work.

The Helpline contact center is the hub for the Helplines. Screening & Information Specialists (SIS) comprise most of the contact center team and respond to incoming Helpline inquiries. Two Contact Center Supervisors provide Helpline services and provide direct supervision to a portion of the SIS team. Two Masters-level Clinicians supervise a portion of the SIS, implement follow-up services, and provide additional coverage and support. Additional Helpline team members deliver and support program operations, marketing and communication, web management, and data analysis and management, supervision, and leadership. The larger team is overseen by the Managing Director, Behavioral Health.

Helpline SIS are the heart of our contact center. SIS respond to incoming calls, online chat, and SMS text messages from individuals seeking information about, and assistance with, accessing substance use or gambling disorder services for themselves, a family member or friend, and/or a client. SIS assess Helpline consumers’ needs in a conversational manner, using motivational interviewing techniques, and work with the consumer to determine the most appropriate prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and/or recovery support services based on the consumer’s unique needs and goals. They then identify available options (through the Helplines’ databases) and refer consumers to those services.  The SIS provide accurate information, education, support, and referrals in a non-judgmental, respectful, and culturally aware manner. SIS may also assist with other Helpline projects and duties as needed or available. Examples include assisting in training new staff, updating the Helpline databases, attending outreach events, and participating in hiring processes.  Full- and part-time positions are available. SIS working more than 17.5 hours per week (half-time or greater) are eligible for HRiA benefits.  This is an hourly, non-exempt position.

COVID-19 Update:

Currently, HRiA staff are working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Staff will continue to work remotely through at least early 2021.  At that time, HRiA will reassess the situation based on the health and safety of our staff and communities.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Project Work

  • Assess the needs of Helpline users by telephone, online chat, and SMS texting.
  • Provide appropriate information and referrals to substance use, gambling disorder, mental health, and related services.
  • Reliably staff the Helpline as scheduled.
  • Engage and motivate users to follow through on referrals through use of active listening and motivational interviewing techniques.
  • Obtain feedback on interactions with Helpline users.
  • Provide service availability information and other provider details through approved sources.
  • Gather and record data from users in Helpline database.
  • Verify users’ insurance status, as applicable.
  • Assist in updating Helpline database of state licensed and approved substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support services as appropriate.
  • Escalate consumers interactions to Helpline clinicians and/or supervisor when applicable.
  • Represent the Helpline at outreach events, meetings, and/or presentations as needed.

Thought Leadership

  • Continue to build and develop expertise in substance use disorders
  • Suggest ideas/improvements through participation in teams and committees
  • Consistently attend and actively participate in Helpline meetings and other activities to develop skills and make suggestions for project enhancements.


  • Participate in hiring processes for new Helpline staff as needed.
  • Assist in the training and mentoring of new Helpline staff as needed.

New Business Development

  • Maintain updated resume and bio for use in new business proposals.
  • Assist with technical components of new business proposals as needed.

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Social Work, Human Services, or related field, or 5 years of related experience in lieu of a bachelor’s degree.
  • Experience in information and referral services, customer service, counseling, substance use, or human services required.
  • Customer/consumer focused with excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Good computer skills and experience and/or ability to use online systems and databases.
  • Certified Resource Specialist (through AIRS) preferred or willingness to obtain within one year of hire.
  • Openness to information that may be different from personal views.
  • Willingness to work with consumers who may be ambivalent, impaired, or have psychological disorders.
  • Openness to providing information about a variety of treatment options and paths to recovery based on a caller’s needs.
  • Respectful of cultural differences and value diversity of thought, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  • High ethical standards and a willingness to comply with professional expectations and boundaries.
  • Ability to adapt to changes in work environment and expectations.
  • Demonstrated history of dependability.
  • Two years of sobriety for people in recovery.
  • Bilingual (primarily in English/Spanish) strongly preferred.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with flexible and/or weekday availability.

Training in addiction, screening, treatment services, and resources is provided. Hours for the full-time and part-time positions are flexible but may include weekend or overnight duties. The MA Helpline and IL Helpline are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This description is intended to indicate the kinds of work duties that will be required in this position. It is not intended to limit, or in any way modify, the rights of any supervisor to assign, direct, and contract work of staff under his/her supervision. The use of a particular illustration describing duties shall not be held to exclude other duties, not mentioned, that are of a similar level or difficulty.

How to Apply:

HRiA is actively seeking to build a diverse and experienced staff. The organization encourages multiple perspectives and experiences, supports a multicultural environment, and strives to hire and retain a diverse work force that reflects the populations we work with and the communities where we work. Diversity is a core value of HRiA resulting in culturally competent services, materials, resources, and programs. Our hiring and business practices appreciate the strengths offered through different backgrounds.

HRiA is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its services, programs, and activities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information.

HRiA offers an attractive benefits package including medical, dental and life insurance, retirement plan, tax-deferred annuity, and generous vacation starting at four weeks.

To apply, submit your cover letter and resume online.

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