EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Area employees of the federally funded Head Start program have learned that in order to continue working under an interim company they will have to reapply for their positions.
The announcement came Tuesday afternoon, at the end of the workday for Head Start employees, during a meeting at a conference center at the Clarion Hotel on the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township.
Mark Elliott, a representative of Colorado-based Community Development Institute (CDI), said the organization will officially take over operations from Atlantic Human Resources on April 20. Until then, a 12-member team of CDI will be visiting the 20 Head Start locations in Cape May and Atlantic counties for “safety reviews and to gather information now in order to operate the program,” Eilliot said.
AHR is relinquishing its control of Head Start following an investigation by program’s federal regulators that found that the local centers did not meet federal standards.
The Head Start employees were visibly shocked Tuesday to learn about a job fair being held Saturday as part of the restructuring under CDI, which is listed as a management consulting service on business profiling websites.
Specifics about the job fair were not given before a reporter was asked to leave Tuesday’s meeting by person who said information would have to come from the Administration for Children and Families, which oversees the national Head Start program. Administration for Children and Families officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.
“The goal is to open on Monday (April) 22 and continue operating services” as they are now, with as little interruption to the children as possible, Elliott said.
In the meantime, CDI is gathering information about current operations and “designing a new organization chart and developing job descriptions. So things could look a little different than it does now,” Elliott said.
The work involves hiring new staff, he said, but current employees are offered the first opportunity to apply, which they can do at the job fair.
The job fair is being set up to give employees an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the terms and conditions of CDI, and if they choose to apply, they will learn the new structure and job description as designed by CDI.
By the end of the day of the job fair, they will be notified if they are hired or not, Elliott said..
This will only apply to Head Start employees, who are now considered employees of CDI. Atlantic Human Resources is a nonprofit based in Atlantic City which receives federal, state and local funding to oversee a number of education, housing and senior programs in Cape May and Atlantic counties. It is unclear what will happen to the employees in the programs other than Head Start.
AHR representatives have not been available for comment.
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