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Will County to establish Dislocated Worker program for opioid victims

12/3/2019, 10:01 p.m.
Officials from the Workforce Services Division of Will County and the Office of Substance Use Initiatives, under the Will County ...

Officials from the Workforce Services Division of Will County and the Office of Substance Use Initiatives, under the Will County Executive Office, announced the county will receive more than $850,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

Through local partnerships, this grant will fund job training for 40 people who have been displaced from the workforce because of the opioid crisis. The grant will also increase the behavioral health resources available in the community.

“Stopping drug use is just one part of a long and complex recovery process,” said Dr. Kathleen Burke, Director of the Office of Substance Use Initiatives. “Addiction has often caused serious consequences in their lives, their family lives, at work, and in the community. Recovery coaches assist individuals with improvements in their life situation."

Working with Governors State University’s Department of Addictions Studies and Behavioral Health, trained recovery coaches will be matched with partner sites in Will County to gain paid work experience. The partner agencies include Stepping Stones Treatment Center, Existential Treatment Center, Family Guidance, Inc., Gateway Foundation, Cornerstone Services, Solid Ground Sober Living Houses, and the Will County Health Department.

This grant will also enable participants in the program to become "Career Certified" in a two-week, work-readiness training developed by Joliet Junior College's Workforce Development department to learn soft skills including communication, business writing, developing a resume and preparing for a job search. Members of the Workforce Investment Board of Will County will serve on the advisory board for this project.

This award is part of a national $1.87 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide disaster-relief jobs and employment services across the nation. Will County is one of six workforce areas in Illinois to receive funding.

For more information about this program, contact Burke at kathleenburke@willcountyillinois.com.