Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts)

  www.alternativesnet.org
  www.alternativesnet.org
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) Reviews

Updated September 5, 2014
Updated September 5, 2014
8 Reviews
3.3
8 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Dennis H. Rice
5 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Not nearly as bad as the other reviews state. There are ups and downs like any other job.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Residential Counselor
    Former Employee - Residential Counselor

    I worked at Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Staff becomes close-knit. I worked in a group home for over a year here, and my team got along very well. My supervisors did not play favorites, and my coordinator does an amazing job of keeping the whole house running smoothly. The individuals in my house had their good and bad days, however everyone is there to focus on recovery. Counselors have the ability to help shape the goals of their individuals to best suit their needs, and Dennis Rice et. al. advocates very hard for raises for his employees. The wage issues presented by other reviews appear to be a result of social work in general, as opposed to Alternatives specifically. Staffs are kept informed and trained, and there is generally the option of using a company van (at least in the group homes). The majority of staff is there solely for the purpose of bettering the lives of their individuals.

    Alternatives will reimburse costs for employee wellness, such as gym membership or smoking cessation. They will provide free trainings and certifications. They will reimburse a portion of educational costs (I don't remember how much offhand, but it is significant). For many people this is an entry level job in the field, and I promise you will receive more than enough information and skill work to benefit you as you progress through this company or otherwise throughout the social work field. Finally, your first three months you do not receive your full salary as this is a probation period ~however~ this is reimbursed retroactively at the completion of this period.

    Cons

    This is human service. Some of the individuals will smell or act irrational. This is a product of mental illness (I worked in mental health as opposed to developmental). Like any other job, there is the proclivity for gossip. There is a lot of chore-based work for staff when individuals are unable to support themselves, however when done correctly these chores are done in order to teach the individuals rather than provide them a crutch. The main con of this job is that there are counselors (none that I have met, but I have heard stories and read reviews on here) that don't care to work in this field.

    Mileage on your car could be an issue, even in the group homes. Alternatives does reimburse a portion of mileage, but sometimes coordinators/supervisors forget to submit mileage sheets. The most difficult part of this job is that it does wear you out. Fortunately, Alternatives provides earned leave that is beyond adequate.

    One horrifying thought, however, is that DMH bills Alternatives through their service notes. If a house cannot complete their required amount of notes for the fiscal year, their house may be shut down or sold to other services. I have not seen this happen, however it brought me some stress in my first few months.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Some trainings could absolutely use evaluation. Most were great and filled with applicable information, however there were several that involved driving to worcester or whitinsville where they stretched three hours of information into a six hour seminar. Also, whereas a town's housing authority generally covers landscaping/snow removal, etc., it may be worth employing individuals to perform these tasks, specifically those with employment goals that are not being fulfilled.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    apartment counselor (aka- taxi driver, babysitter & janitor)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts)

    Pros

    Absolutely none. This job is a joke. This is me typing to fill up the 20 word minimum b/c there is nothing good about this job. Nothing.

    Cons

    The amount of miles you rack up on your own personal vehicle is insane. Most counselors do 150+ miles A WEEK to drive around ungrateful, super smelly individuals who either pee in your car or make it smell like an ash tray...or they give you bed bugs.
    Supervisors punch in and out from their phones so they come in late & leave early. It makes it hard when they aren't there when you need help in the office. Because they are slacking, everything is always past due and counselors have even more driving and errands to do.
    You end up doing so, so much work for little pay ($13/hr). Its not worth the stress and aggravation. And payroll somehow seems to mess up pay checks every once in a while and forgets to pay people on time...and pay is bi weekly. Thanks payroll, you're the best.
    Its hard to take a vacation b/c they're so under staffed. You rack up all the vacation time and then cant use it on consecutive days off.
    When the "individuals served" don't feel like cleaning, the counselors get stuck doing it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Come in on time, work your whole shift, and then maybe you wont always be playing catch up when it comes to due dates and getting work done on time.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Painful

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Counselor
    Former Employee - Counselor

    I worked at Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    b/c you're on the road 90% of the time, there is no one breathing over your shoulder.
    They hire internally for promotions but good luck lasting a full year there to be considered
    casual dress attire

    Cons

    the driving, supervisors play favorites and if your the favorite great- if not you have to pick up their slack, rumors in the office, trainings are useless, there is no direction for the important office paper work, have to work either Saturday or Sunday and late nights

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  4. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
  5.  

    Great managers, more efficient time managment needed with lower level employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Case Worker  in  Worcester, MA
    Former Employee - Case Worker in Worcester, MA

    I worked at Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    They always had updated training, and most employees truly cared about their clients

    Cons

    It was often difficult to work on client goals when our schedules were packed with
    taking care of normal errands

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More efficient transportation services

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Never paid people on time!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Tutor  in  Riverside, CA
    Former Employee - Tutor in Riverside, CA

    I worked at Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    Love to work with the kids.

    Cons

    Never paid on-time for tutoring.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay your employees on time.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Alternatives is a great place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Whitinsville, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Whitinsville, MA

    I have been working at Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts)

    Pros

    Alternatives is a a company that values their employees. This is evidenced by their strong focus on training and promoting from within. Most managers were promoted into their positions so they have an intimate understanding of the job performed by the people they are supervising. Most importantly, Alternatives is committed to the people they support and place their needs at the forefront when making decisions about the direction of the organization.

    Cons

    As a non-profit organization, Alternatives is dependent on the Department of Mental Health, Department of Developmental Services, and the Department of Medical Assistance to fund programs. As a result, wages are not as high as you would find in the corporate world. As a non-profit, the salary and benefit packages are generous and very competitive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Alternatives' management should continue to work toward their mission of providing services of the highest quality to people with disabilities. Alternatives is a great organization that provides a much needed service to the people of Central MA.

    Recommends
  8.  

    A Great Place To Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Counselor
    Current Employee - Program Counselor

    I have been working at Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts) full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Alternatives has an excellent training program. Management is very easy-going and accessible. We provide an invaluable service to the people we support. Great benefits package. Plenty of opportunity to grow within the company. The headquarters, located at the recently renovated, historic Whitin Mill is beautiful. An all around great place to work!

    Cons

    High turnover rate - typical of any Human Services organization. Pay is very low for the large amount of work that we do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do some additional fundraising or cut the pay of higher positions, i.e. CEO, Clinicians, Nurses, to pay the front line people (Counselors, Supervisors, Coordinators) a higher salary. Minimum salary for the amount of work I do as a Support Counselor should be at least $18/hour.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    A great place to start in human services

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Counselor
    Current Employee - Counselor

    I have been working at Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts)

    Pros

    Alternatives just tripled in size so there are plenty of internal promotion opportunities. Training is Alternatives strength and there are numerous opportunities for paid training. The offer a small education credit as well as medical/dental/life insurance.

    Cons

    High turnover rate, High stress job. The hours are not conventional. There has been a decrease in communication since the expansion.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve communication between regional components and increase standards for paper work and employee individual interactions. Offer training series more than 1 time every other month.

    Recommends

Worked for Alternatives Unlimited (Massachusetts)? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.