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Ohio Companies Will Receive Up to $13 Million for Hiring Workers in Recovery

(Winter 2018) Not only has the opioid epidemic become an alarming public health concern, but it has also left Ohio employers lacking viable workforce candidates. Recognizing this, as much as $5 million in Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) funds has been allocated for a two-year initiative that will pair Ross, Scioto and Montgomery County businesses needing workers with individuals in addiction recovery.

The Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) boards in each of these counties will oversee the program. Employers will be repaid for drug testing expenses and provided training on best practices for managing an employee pool that contains workers in recovery. The instruction will include guidelines on red flags that could indicate a possible relapse and intervention methods. The ADAMHS boards will facilitate groups that allow workplaces to communicate about their experiences and successes — and advocate for employing individuals in recovery. If successful, the Ohio BWC may implement the initiative throughout the state.

The program has high relevancy, as statistics indicate that the opioid epidemic has reduced the number of viable employees throughout the country. Recently the opioid crisis has drained between $6.6 billion and $8.8 billion per year from Ohio’s resources alone.

In addition to the ADAMHS pilot, the hard-hit Buckeye State will receive $8 million over the next two years from the United States Department of Labor for a Trade and Economic Transition National Dislocated Worker Grant. This funding will assist companies and unemployed individuals in 16 counties as they face hurdles associated with the opioid crisis. Like the BWC program, the grant will provide resources to firms that choose to employ workers in recovery. However, these funds will also be used to institute an addiction services apprenticeship at community colleges and to support those in recovery through vocational education and job placement services.

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