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U.S. Department of Labor grant provides funds to combat opioid crisis in Macomb County

Grant will provide training and employment services to individuals recovering from addiction

Contact: Stepheni Willis
Cell: 517-243-7423

LANSING, MI – The Michigan Talent Investment Agency (TIA) announced today that the agency received an opioid-crisis Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG), from the U.S. Department of Labor, for up to $1,809,752, with $800,000 of those funds being released initially.

The state of Michigan ranked 11th in the country in the percentage change in opioid overdose death rates between 2006 and 2016, with a 19 percent increase.  Over and above the statewide percentage increase, Macomb County has seen a staggering 400 percent increase in opioid-related deaths since 2014.  

“The current resources in Macomb County inadequately address the additional burden placed upon both the legal and workforce systems by the opioid crisis,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, acting director of the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan. “The result is not enough sustained support for those recovering from addiction and the lack of a targeted workforce component for those recovering from addiction or subject to the legal system as a result of opioids.”

This grant funding will address workforce impacts of the opioid crisis in Macomb County by providing employment services to eligible individuals affected by the health and economic effects of widespread opioid use, addiction, and overdose.

“The individuals served by this grant will not be the typical dislocated worker,” Beckhorn said.  “Most will be long-term unemployed and will be recovering from opioid addiction or be involved with the legal system due to opioid use, which creates multiple barriers to employment.”

CARE of Southeastern Michigan, one of the largest providers of peer recovery coaching services in the state, is a primary partner in this project and will be hiring up to five eligible participants as peer recovery coaches. The peer recovery coaches assist in addressing the opioid epidemic by connecting an estimated 230 eligible participants to treatment, supporting them on their path to recovery, and building a recovery support system.  The grant will also provide employment services to eligible participants to assist them in obtaining careers in high-demand fields such as information technology, healthcare, business, advanced manufacturing, and professional trades.

“As our community continues to grapple with the growing opioid epidemic, CARE of Southeastern Michigan is honored to partner with Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, Macomb County Community Corrections, and the Michigan Talent Investment Agency to support individuals impacted by substance abuse disorders on their path to recovery,” Monique Stanton, president and CEO of CARE of Southeastern Michigan.  “This opportunity from the Department of Labor will help us increase access to peer recovery coaches, career planning, and on-the-job training.  The new and expanded services will help people make their next steps toward recovery, resiliency, and self-sufficiency.”

Other partners in the program include Macomb Community Corrections and 16th Circuit Court Drug Court. 
“Macomb County Community Corrections is very excited to partner with Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, CARE of Southeastern Michigan, and the Michigan Talent Investment Agency to provide employment services to those affected by opioid use and addiction,” Barbara Caskey, director, Macomb Community Corrections, said.  “We know that employment substantially increases the likelihood of success in the community and with this opportunity from the Department of Labor, we can provide additional support and guidance through peer recovery coaches, individualized employment plans, on-the-job trainings, and more for those working towards recovery.”

The partners will be evaluating potential participants and referring them to Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! career planners.  

“This grant provides us the opportunity to assist an underserved population that is affected by the opioid crisis in our community,” John Bierbusse, executive director of Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!, said.  “Integrating employment and training services into their recovery plan is a win-win situation for both the participants and local employers looking to fill positions.”

Studies have shown a direct correlation between unemployment and drug use.  Princeton economist Alan Kreuger found a link between the increase in prescribing rates and the drop-in labor force participation.  He said that the higher rates of painkiller use could account for about 43 percent of the observed decline in men’s labor force participation, and 25 percent of the observed decline in women’s labor force participation, between 1999 and 2015.  This is significant because the people who exit the workforce due to addiction, or substance use issues, often don’t make it back.

“This grant gives us the opportunity to fill a reemployment gap in the system by connecting the Michigan Works! Agencies, and training opportunities, to the problem-solving courts,” Beckhorn said.  “There are 188 problem-solving courts throughout the state.  We are working with just one of those courts through this grant.  We are hoping to create a model that the other problem-solving courts can replicate across the state and possibly throughout the country.”

Learn more about the programs that the State of Michigan has created to address the opioid epidemic on the Opioid Addiction Resources website.

About the Talent Investment Agency (TIA)
TIA is the agency that combines Michigan Unemployment Insurance and Workforce Development and is responsible for their activities. Businesses need a talented workforce. Workers need the right skills to compete for available jobs. TIA programs are focused on job preparedness, career-based education, worker training, employment assistance and unemployment insurance. Please visit our website to see all that we offer.