INvestments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE)
Workforce Solutions for North Central PA was successful in a grant proposal submitted to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and in November of 2021 was awarded an INSPIRE grant in the amount of $500,000. Titled, PROSPER: From Recovery to Career, this three-year investment will help to bridge the gap in the North Central workforce region labor pool by working with regional alcohol and drug treatment centers, employers and community partners to extend the current infrastructure for job seekers in recovery.
The PROSPER project aligns with one of ARC’s five investment goals: Ready Workforce, which is to improve the education, knowledge, skills and health of residents to work and succeed in Appalachia.
- Improve success rates for long-term recovery for job seekers who are in recovery from Substance or Other Drug Use Disorders (SUD, ODUD) through customized supportive services and training that will lead to sustainable and meaningful employment.
- Enhance employer awareness of best practices for providing policy, mutual aid, support, and knowledgeable workplaces for employees in recovery across the north central workforce region.
This project is guided by our PROSPER Advisory Committee, comprised of local employers from our six county region and supporting partnering agencies, whose goal is to address the strategies of moving this project forward supporting both employees in recovery and the employers who are interested in this untapped labor pool.
Job seekers – this project aims to serve up to 70 job seekers, providing skilled training for job seekers in recovery, on the job training and necessary supportive services. Job seekers in recovery often “give back” to the employers willing to provide them a chance by showing a higher than average willingness to work and loyalty other workers lack.
Employers - educating employers on Substance Abuse and Other Drug Use Disorders is key to understanding and promoting a successful workplace environment for those in recovery. Employers are encouraged to participate through our advisory board as well as take advantage of the many training sessions to be developed throughout the three-year project.
Employer Training Topics: (Year 1)
- History and Evolution Of Alcohol and Drug Use- Why Investing in Recovering Workers Matters
- Developing Drug Prevention Policy- Defining Recovery
- Federal Bonding and Accommodations for Recovering Employees
- Supervisor Training and Guidance- Support and Mutual Aid Groups in the Workplace
- Success Stories in the Workplace- Testimonials from Workers in Recovery
- Drug Testing Best Practices
- Addressing Mental Health and Substance Abuse in the Workplace
- Employee Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Practice
- Opioid Overdose Reversal
More employer training will be offered Year 2 and Year 3.
Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS) Training
Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS) training made available through PROSPER and partner agencies offers sixty-six (66) hours of instruction and is open to both agency staff who work with addiction and treatment as well as job seekers in recovery. For the job seeker in recovery, employment as a CRS can be both healing and rewarding as it is a unique way to use their personal addiction and recovery experience to make a positive impact on others faced with addiction.
The PROSPER project works with many community partners and educators to extend the current recovery ecosystem. The award prompted the North Central Workforce Development Board, industry partners and recovery communities in the region to come together to collaboratively address the needs of recovering job seekers, while increasing the talent pool and enhancing the employers’ ability to support and retain workers in Substance Abuse Disorders (SUD). The project is matched with $500,000 of training, time and supports by partnering agencies and employers.
For more information on the PROSPER project contact the Workforce Solutions for North Central PA offices at 814-245-1835.