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Nationwide labor shortage impacting Florida drug and alcohol rehab centers

WFTV Orlando logo WFTV Orlando 10/21/2021 Ashley Edlund, James Tutten
© Provided by WFTV Orlando

The labor shortage hitting industries nationwide also is impacting drug and alcohol rehab centers in Central Florida.

Facilities officials said they are trying to get more skilled workers to help people in need, but it has not been easy.

Officials with Park Place Behavioral Care in Kissimmee said they do not have enough nurses on staff and need to hire five or six more as soon as possible.

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They’ve been working on getting people in those positions, offering incentives, but said it has not worked yet.

The need is not slowing down for counseling and mental health services.

Park Place CEO Jim Shanks said he needs more skilled hands to meet the demand.

Shanks said they have been working to fill those spots by sweetening job offers.

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“We’ve raised our wages in the last three months. We’ve put through increases, special payment for working nights, special payments for working weekends,” Shanks said.

And Park Place is not alone.

Officials with Transition House said it also is struggling to fill positions.

“It’s definitely affecting our ability to help as many people as we’d like to help,” said Crystal Hernandez with Transition House. “We are significantly struggling with staff issues. We need to hire at least three more people right now for the outpatient centers.”

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The shortages come at a time when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a record number of overdose deaths nationwide in 2020.

Central Florida saw a 57% increase during that time.

“Things are getting tougher. More difficult clients to take care of, fewer people to do it,” Shanks said.

Park Place has a job fair on Thursday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., and anyone who comes is guaranteed an interview on the spot. They need nurses, nurse practitioners and behavioral technicians.

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