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Strafford County jail, nursing home need employees

Union Leader Correspondent

January 23. 2018 10:11PM
There are available positions for corrections officers at the Strafford County jail in Dover. The nearby nursing home also needs help. (File photo by Kimberley Haas)

DOVER - Strafford County Administrator Ray Bower says they are hiring people to fill labor shortages at the county's jail and nursing home.

Out of 59 officer positions at the House of Corrections, only 50 are currently filled. Four or five people have shown interest in these jobs, and officials are working to bring them on board.

Bower explained that the jail had been fully staffed until recently, but two people retired Jan. 1, and other staff members went into local law enforcement.

Officials have been implementing a plan to attract and retain jail staff for the past few years. Improvements in compensation have helped, Bower said.

Bower said younger candidates have a difficult time understanding the value of benefits offered to county employees.

"It's hard for young people to appreciate the value of health insurance or retirement," Bower said Tuesday. "These are things, in general, that the government has to offer."

At Riverside Rest Home and Hyder Family Hospice House next door, they are also in need of help.

"We are currently short a combination of 25 full or part time aides, out of 151, and a combination of 7 full or part time nurses, out of 75," Bower said.

Riverside Rest Home is a 215 bed Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing facility owned by the county.

Bower said inmates and patients have not seen a decrease in services due to the labor shortage. At the nursing home and hospice center, managers and employees have stepped in to ensure all shifts are adequately covered.

Bower said New Hampshire's bustling economy means they have to compete for employees with other health care providers. He said the private sector also has a hard time hiring and retaining qualified health care aides and nurses.

Bower said he has never seen the nursing home completely staffed, and the overtime money is helpful for workers who volunteer for it. By allowing employees to earn overtime, the county saves on benefits, he said.

Bower said anyone who is interested in applying for a corrections officer job at the jail can visit for more information.

Anyone who is interested in applying for a job at the nursing home can walk into the facility at 276 County Farm Road in Dover to inquire about information.

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