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Major Bennington County Employer Announces Agency-Wide Wage Increase

UCS Corporate News

United Counseling Service of Bennington County (UCS) recently completed a multi-year wage compensation project that has culminated in an increase in compensation for most of the agency’s staff. In 2022, UCS, along with other Designated Agencies across the state, received an 8% boost to their funding. UCS gave a 3% increase to staff and used some of that capital to offset employee insurance and other administrative cost increases but held most of the new funds in anticipation of implementing its compensation plan.

“The work we do is so essential to our community and the need for our services continues to grow,” said UCS Executive Director Lorna Mattern. “It’s been a hard reality that staff, despite loving their work at UCS, end up leaving for higher paying jobs. We know that creating and implementing a competitive wage structure is critical to both attract and retain great staff.”

UCS invested more than $1.5 million to advance its goal of a more competitive salary structure. 90% of the positions within the agency experienced an increase; for example, Residential Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) starting rate increased 25%, from $16 per hour to nearly $20 per hour. “This market adjustment is just an initial step toward achieving fair and equitable pay for our staff,” said Mattern.

In addition to its commitment to better pay, UCS is already known for promoting a culture of wellness, with numerous staff supports in place. “We want to be the place everyone wants to work.” Bob Thompson, president of UCS’ board of directors, concurs, “Staff compensation and retention have been on our radar for some time. We are proud of our employees, and I know many will see major benefits in their own lives as a result of the new salary structure. It’s one more way we can help strengthen the community we all serve.”

For current job openings at UCS visit ucsvt.org/careers.

United Counseling Service (UCS) is a private, non-profit community mental health center that has been an essential part of Bennington County’s integrated healthcare system since 1958. The organization has been designated as a Center of Excellence by Vermont Care Partners. UCS promotes healthy lifestyles through all its programs and offers care at 15 different facilities, including two primary outpatient facilities in Bennington and Manchester. UCS provides outpatient counseling and addiction services, emergency mental health services, extensive rehabilitation services, home and school-based services, employment services for people recovering from mental illness or with developmental disabilities, and early childhood services. For more information visit ucsvt.org.

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