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Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative

Across the country, the rate of positive workplace drug tests has increased for the fourth straight year.  In Ohio, businesses often struggle to staff positions because of applicants’ inability to pass a pre-employment drug test. Additionally, workplaces – especially small to mid-sized businesses – are challenged to protect themselves against this insidious drain, while community alcohol/drug service providers are challenged about how to service the needs of their business communities.  Businesses can’t just sit back and wait for things to get better. They have a role to play in addressing the harmful use of substances.

The Working Partners® Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative (DFWCI) was a public-private partnership between the State of Ohio and Working Partners® created to respond to the concerns of businesses and address the economic threat of substance misuse 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 by:

  • Bringing together key stakeholders and employers in 17 communities throughout the state (representing close to 10% of the state’s population) to assess local challenges and resources and implement strategies to develop a job-ready workforce of drug-free individuals to serve employers’ needs now and in the future.
  • Assessing the perceptions, attitudes, knowledge and practices of businesses and community leaders as they relate to preventing and addressing the harmful use of substances in the workplace and workforce.
  • Working with employers to equip them with education, technical assistance and tools needed to prevent and respond to workplace substance abuse in a productive, legally-sound and meaningful way.
  • Providing regular communications to leadership (local, state and national) to keep them apprised of all substance abuse issues and legislation that affect the workplace.

Map showing 17 Ohio stakeholder counties.

Initiative Activities

Community Organizing

  • 17 Community Behavioral Health Boards
  • Recruited 279 stakeholders and 200 organizations
    • Behavioral Health Agencies
    • Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
    • Businesses
    • Chambers of Commerce
    • County Behavioral Health Boards
    • County Commissioners
    • Economic Development
    • Job and Family Services
    • Media Outlets
    • OhioMeansJobs
    • Service Organizations
  • Held 80 stakeholder meetings
  • Conducted 16 in-depth interviews with community behavioral health agencies

Business Survey

  • First of its kind, statewide survey
  • Results from 3,229 businesses and 1,484 community leaders
  • Executed by the stakeholder groups in each of the 17 communities
  • Data analyzed across firm size, industry, respondents role with his/her organization
    • 41.6% small businesses
    • 42.9% service industry
    • 47.9% owners/operators or upper management

View Report

Technical Assistance

  • 70 businesses attended free, 14-hour intensive course
  • Impacted over 10,000 employees and their families
  • In-depth education and guidance to develop (or refine) a state-of-the-art and legally sound drug-free workplace policy and program
    • 95% reported it provided an opportunity to identify ways to change their company’s response to alcohol and drug-related issues
    • 98% said the course increased their knowledge about drug-free workplace issues
    • 96% thought the time invested in the course was worth it

Learn More

Job Seeker Challenge

  • Free video resource to raise awareness among job seekers and connect them to helping resources
  • Customized with information specific to each of the 17 participating communities
  • Community stakeholder groups created plans to distribute video to as many of the roughly 86,500 unemployed Ohioans as possible

As part of this Initiative, we also sent out Leadership Briefing emails to keep people apprised of issues impacting Ohio’s employable, drug-free workforce. Catch up on some of the issues impacting Ohio’s workforce and read previous Leadership Briefings.

See what people said about DFWCI.