Andrew Mahoney graduated from Assumption College in 2007 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Social Rehabilitation Services (HRS). He then returned to earn his MBA in 2011. Andrew is the Director of Training at Y.O.U., Inc., one of the largest non-profit human services agencies in Massachusetts. Below, Andrew shares how he found his path in the human services industry.
Who wants to hear a story? More specifically, my story on how I dove into a job in human services without even knowing what I was doing. I like to think that fate had a lot to do with my success but that I had a pretty solid hand in getting started in my professional life.
So, here I am, a 20-year-old sophomore at Assumption College in April, about to be halfway through my journey to a Bachelor’s degree. I’m majoring in Psychology and minoring in Social Rehabilitation Services (what is now Human Services & Rehabilitation Studies). One of my Social Rehab professors gives us an assignment to interview someone in the human services field as part of our final project for the semester in groups of four that he assigns. The purpose is to obviously gain some insight into the work these professionals do, ask them questions, and see if that type of work actually makes sense for you. Sounds easy enough, right?
My group is assigned to interview the director at a local non-profit. We schedule the interview, but when the time comes she is unable to meet with us due to issues at the facility and respectfully tells us it probably will not work out. We start to panic and tell our professor the details of what is happening. Luckily, he is very well connected and calls an old colleague who is working in the area. This new person, Bob, agrees to meet with us that day. Great! We are back on track.
At this point, my group and I head over to a place called The Wetzel Center, which is a short-term residential psychiatric facility for kids and adolescents ages 7-17. It is part of an agency called Y.O.U., Inc. We check in at the front desk and are quickly greeted by a friendly individual who is Bob. Bob takes us to his office where we interview him about his job, the facility, and all that good stuff. Afterwards, he takes us on a tour of the building, and we get to meet some of the kids who live at the facility.
I’m blown away by the work they are doing and how impressive this facility is. Before this, I never knew some place like this existed for kids who have been dealt such terrible hands in life. I decide at this moment, “I need to do something.” As we are leaving, I pull Bob aside and ask, “Is it possible to volunteer here over the summer?” Bob replies, “Volunteer? Why don’t we just get you a job?” I am ecstatic. Over the next few weeks, I have a formal interview, get hired, and attend orientation. I begin working as a part-time residential counselor. I love this work, and I love the agency. I move up and get promoted within six months to a shift supervisor.
Now, almost 12 years later, I have stayed at Y.O.U., Inc. I worked at the Wetzel Center for 7 years. Then I moved to a different program at the agency called Dynamy (working with 17-22 year olds students) where I worked for 4 years. Currently, I am the Director of Training for Y.O.U., Inc. and oversee all of the training and supervision of all 700 employees throughout central Massachusetts. This all happened due to a mixture of fate and my taking matters into my own hands.
My advice to anyone looking for a job in the human services field is to get out there and help yourself. Take a chance. I took a chance 12 years ago, and that grew into a career and amazing job satisfaction for me. Build your professional networks in the human services field. Remember, people get into human services because they LOVE to help others. Most likely, current professionals in the field are going to want to help you, too. Take advantage of the programs and events happening on campus in regards to career development. You never know when you’ll get that break or meet that person who can propel you into a professional career.
Y.O.U., Inc. currently operates over 40 programs through Massachusetts and has over 700 employees who work in all capacities to help support youth and families. If you want to learn more about us and see the jobs we have open today (and yes, we will hire undergrads and always have a need for more staff), you can visit: www.youinc.org
If you have any specific questions for me, please feel free to reach out by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org