Texas struggles to retain caseworkers / Pay raises, faster promotions aim to combat rapid turnover.

Source: By Corrie MacLaggan, AMERICAN-STATESMAN (TX), Sunday, March 23, 2008

First thing Thursday morning, a dozen new state caseworkers arrived at a North Austin office building for a training class on enrolling Texans in the food stamp and Medicaid programs. Just a couple of months into their jobs, one after another said they’re excited about helping people and confident they can handle the work. But if history is any guide, eight of them will be gone by fall. Employees overwhelmed by their workload are leaving the Health and Human Services Commission in droves.

….. Some of the agency’s staffing problems date to fall 2005, when Hawkins informed 2,900 eligibility workers that they would not have a job after the start of a privatization plan. The agency hired Accenture LLP to run call centers to enroll Texans in benefits. After a troubled pilot program in Central Texas in 2006, the state parte