Gov. Wolf and Appalachian Regional Commission Announce More Than $1.5 Million for Job Training and Work Support to People Recovering from Substance Use Disorder

November 16, 2021

Governor Tom Wolf and the Appalachian Regional Commission today announced that more than $1.5 million through the INvestments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) initiative has been awarded to four Pennsylvania projects that help people with substance use disorder (SUD) to successfully get a job or re-enter the workforce.

“Thank you to ARC for your commitment to the people of the Appalachian region and for recognizing the importance of these programs for the people of Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Wolf. “Thank you to the grant recipients and to all substance use disorder treatment and service providers here in Pennsylvania for all that you do to support your communities.”

The ARC award recipients include:

  • Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery (POWER) received a $500,000 award for the POWER Programs Growth and Recovery. The project builds a recovery ecosystem in 14 Appalachian counties in Pennsylvania to expand job training and employment supports through partnerships among workforce development organizations, post-SUD treatment services, local employers and others that assist with long-term recovery.
  • Workforce Solutions for North Central Pennsylvania received a $500,000 award for the PROSPER – From Recovery to Career program. Partners in the collaboration will provide SUD-awareness training to local businesses, certify more recovery specialists and provide customized career planning services to dozens of job seekers.
  • FAVOR Western PA received a $500,000 grant for the creation of the Recovery Community Organization (RCO) to bolster local workforce opportunities and recovery ecosystems in eight counties across the Laurel Highlands. The RCO will serve as a hub for individuals in recovery to obtain employment.
  • The Crawford County Drug and Alcohol Executive Committee, Inc. received a $48,604 grant for the Pathways to Education and Employment in Recovery (PEER) Program. The project will develop a consortium to leverage knowledge, skills and assets to identify seamless access to services for successful permanent employment opportunities for individuals in recovery.

“The substance use disorder crisis isn’t only a health and family issue—it’s a workforce issue. The devastating impacts of this crisis also have severe economic impacts, keeping many Appalachians of prime working age from participating in the labor force and contributing to the Region’s economic growth,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “With ARC’s INSPIRE initiative, we’re starting to change that. INSPIRE projects focus on creating recovery-friendly work environments, providing supports to both individuals in recovery and their employers, and training individuals to meet the demand in growing professions. When we help individuals in recovery succeed, our communities succeed.”    

INSPIRE awardees will support the SUD recover-to-employment continuum in 7 Appalachian states by training and certifying recovery specialists, establishing cross-sector community recovery partnerships, expanding peer recovery support networks, launching recovery-to-work programs with a full spectrum of coordinated support services and more.

Additionally, the Wolf Administration has already invested nearly $5 million over the past two years into employment support services to help Pennsylvanians in recovery. Funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the grants provided employment services to 470 people in 2020 and more than 900 employers were recruited to support and employ individuals in recovery from substance use disorder.

The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region, including 52 counties in Pennsylvania. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.

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