New program to target workforce participation

The Kentucky Transformational Employment Program officially launched on September 14.
The Kentucky Transformational Employment Program officially launched on September 14.(CBS News)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 3:57 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Drug and alcohol abuse costs employers in the Commonwealth about $81 billion in loss of productivity, high turnover and healthcare.

Last year, the Kentucky General Assembly passed SB 191, tasking the state with finding a solution and combatting the addiction crisis.

Senior Vice President of Administration at Addiction Recovery Care, Matt Brown, relates to substance use recovery first-hand.

”One of the more important things of my recovery has been my employment,” he said” “Remaining employed at Addiction Recovery Care for my first couple years of employment were crucial to my sustained recovery.”

A key step in improving substance use recovery is getting employers on board.

”Oftentimes, when people lose their employment when they’re struggling their issue gets worse,” said Brown.

The solution that the General Assembly requested comes in the form of the Kentucky Transformational Employment Program created, in part, by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

“It helps employers find and retain workforce that they need to support and grow their businesses,” said Ryan Bowman, the Workforce Recovery Program Manager at the Chamber.

The program creates a path for employers to follow when they encounter a problem with an employee.

The goal is to prioritize the needs of owners, who face risks in hiring people in recovery, without sacrificing the care for the individuals.

”Historically all the liability fell upon the employer if they were going to rehire an individual that had previously failed a drug screening,” Bowman said.

Recovery care professionals, like Brown, are optimistic.

”So I’m expecting the Kentucky Transformational Employment Program to stabilize the workforce and save many lives,” he said.

The program launched on September.

Employers will find more information KTEP and may sign up on the Kentucky Comeback website.

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