Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

Member Spotlight: DHHS Community Support Specialist Shelly Witt

NAPE/AFSCME member Shelly Witt is one of only five Community Support Specialists (CSS) for the State of Nebraska Department of Health and Humans Services (DHHS). Her office is in Ogallala, but Shelly provides services to 42 counties. 

In Nebraska, there are more than 500 organizations, or community partnerships, that provide over 1,200 locations where people can go to get assistance navigating the DHHS Access Nebraska system. Shelly’s job is to ensure that the people working at these organizations are well-equipped to answer questions and provide the best possible service to the Nebraskans who seek help. She also acts as a liaison between the community organizations and DHHS employees.

Though her job requires a lot of travel, Shelly said it’s worth it to get to connect with the people she serves. 

“I don’t love the drive time because it’s time I can’t be working,” she said. “But it’s really fulfilling being out and developing relationships with these people and our community partners.”

Right now, Shelly is especially excited about a new Adult Protective Services Prevention Program they are piloting. This program seeks to provide immediate resources and relief to vulnerable adults.

“For example, we had an elderly woman who was living at home and the flooring had come up, causing a real hazard for her, and we were able to pay for a contractor to fix that for her,” she said.

Shelly is passionate about the outreach she does and the help she’s able to provide to both the community organizations and State of Nebraska employees.

“Ultimately, all of us want to make sure that people are connected to the supports available to them to prevent poverty-related abuse and neglect, and to make sure people are safe,” she said. “We want to serve people where they are and help them remain in their homes or wherever it is that they want to be.” 

Shelly lives very close to Lake McConaughy, and in her spare time, that’s exactly where she likes to be. She also likes to travel and is the Secretary-Treasurer of her local Optimist Club. Her daughter converted a little red school bus into a mobile coffee shop called “Saved by the Well,” and when Shelly can help out with that, she does. 

“Just this morning we were at the local elementary and junior high school serving coffee to the teachers and other drinks to the students.” 

Obviously, both at work and outside of it, Shelly is dedicated to public service and enriching the lives of her fellow Nebraskans. 

“I want people to know that there are supports available, I want them to know that they can reach out, and they shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help,” she said. “I want them to know that we care about their health, their safety, and their success.”

Community Support Specialists are a small but mighty group of employees who work hard to serve every community across Nebraska. Our union is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating NAPE/AFSCME members like Shelly who work tirelessly to connect those most in need to essential resources and public services.

Nebraska Association of
Public Employees