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Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative


The Working Partners® Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative (DFWCI) was a public-private partnership between the State of Ohio and Working Partners® designed to address the economic threat of substance abuse by employees and job seekers in our state.  The goal of the Initiative was to build healthier, stronger, more productive workforces and workplaces based on local needs and, in turn, build a healthier, stronger, more economically-sound Ohio.


Across the state, community behavioral health boards, treatment facilities, chambers of commerce, and other community systems recognized that Ohio employers were suffering a shortage of employable adults often realized by failed drug tests.  Unfortunately, while the employers’ needs (i.e., clear-minded, healthy, productive employees) and the goals of the community behavioral health boards were aligned, these two sectors struggle to communicate and work effectively together. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) wanted to replicate the business/social services, public-private partnership-model Working Partners® facilitated with Allen, Auglaize and Hardin Counties Mental Health and Recovery Board for treatment providers and businesses in 17 Ohio counties.

What Working Partners® did:

  • Established an interdisciplinary group of stakeholders in each of the 17 participating communities – totaling 279 stakeholders, representing 200 organizations – to advise, direct, provide expertise and support the Initiative’s activities.
  • Through the execution of a first-of-its-kind survey, collected data about the perceptions, attitudes, knowledge and practices of 1,484 community leaders and 3,229 businesses as they relate to preventing and addressing the harmful use of substances in the workplace/workforce.
  • Worked with 70 employers to equip them with education, technical assistance and tools needed to prevent and respond to workplace substance use in a productive, operationally sound and meaningful way.
  • Provided regular communications to the communities and system leaders (local, state and national) to keep them apprised of all alcohol and other drug issues and legislation that affect the workplace.
  • Created a web-based video challenge for job seekers to assess their own use of harmful substances.
  • Identified local alcohol/drug provider(s) in each community interested in providing their community’s businesses with employer-friendly services.


  • The opportunity to impact over 10,000 employees and their families (approximately 24,703 individuals total) through the implementation of the knowledge and practices taught to 70 employers during a 14-hour technical assistance course.
  • Received at least 46 pieces of media coverage, reaching over 80,000 newsreaders, and over 220 social posts were published to over 24,000 Facebook followers.
  • Using the results from a first of its kind survey of 1,484 community leaders and 3,229 businesses, created a report overviewing how employers could do more to grow and maintain Ohio’s employable drug-free workforce.
  • Helped forge and strengthen relationships between the community health boards and businesses that continued beyond the Initiative.
  • Laid the foundations for communities to continue offering drug-free workplace program technical assistance courses to businesses in their community.


  • This initiative has provided a greater awareness of the impact substance abuse has on the workplace, through the conversations within our stakeholder group and the leadership of Working Partners®. As a result, the Findlay-Hancock County community is more engaged in local efforts that address substance use, especially through the efforts of the Hancock County Opiate Taskforce, and its Community Partnership, to just name a few.

    Dionne Neubauer, Director and Initiative Participant
    Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce

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