Staff Spotlight: Meet Shay Noriega


Meet Shay Noriega! On October 3, Shay was recognized at the annual Texas Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (TAIRS) and awarded the 2017 Information and Referral Resource Specialist award.

As the 2-1-1 Community Information Coordinator, Shay actively updates and maintains a comprehensive community resource database that meets complex state and national standards. She also provides daily training and support for 2-1-1 call specialists to ensure that they have everything they need to successfully help over 150,000 callers annually.

Shay has worked in a leadership role with United Way for Greater Austin 2-1-1 Navigation Center for more than four years.  Since receiving her MSW in 2013, Shay has supported the 2-1-1 program by ensuring health and human services resource information is up-to-date and easy to navigate for 2-1-1 call specialists.  She actively participates in updating and maintaining a comprehensive community resource database that meets complex state and national standards. In addition to managing relationships with all of the organizations within the 2-1-1 database.

Hear more from Shay herself:

What is your role?

My core responsibility is maintaining the database, which largely includes reaching out to big players in the community, updating their information when it changes and maintaing the integrity of our data and resources.

I am really proud to work here. I feel so fortunate to work with people who have one of the toughest jobs. It takes a very special person to field calls everyday from people who don’t have access to basic needs and I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by so many of them.

Why are you passionate about your work? 

2-1-1 is a great front door to get people where they need to go. I got lucky and walked into a dream job without really knowing it.  I think I am most passionate about my job because we get to provide people with access to information about resources that they might be eligible for, in order to receive assistance.

What excites me most about 2-1-1 is that we are in a unique position to hear and see the pulse of the community. We hear the needs of the community first hand and are also in the unique position to report to the people who have resources that can create change.

More about 2-1-1: 

2-1-1 is a statewide service managed by United Way for the Central Texas region, and statewide by the Texas Health and Human Service Commission.  Anyone can call the 2-1-1 dialing code to connect to community resources and receive assistance navigating the complex social service delivery system.  Every day, hundreds of people from the Austin-area call for information about food, housing, health care, mental health, child care, employment, education, disaster, and state benefit assistance.  2-1-1 is also a key point of contact for seasonal programs including holiday assistance, tax preparation programs, Affordable Care Act information.  Community resource information can also be found through a free online database at


Photos by: Perry Jeffries, Director of TexVet