CareerSource Central Florida (CSCF), Florida’s second largest regional workforce board, announces it has teamed up with local businesses in the region to provide workforce solutions to HR professionals and employers to help support, and integrate into the local workforce, individuals recovering from opioid addiction.
The opioid epidemic has been fueled by COVID-19. According to some of the latest research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 105,000 Americans died of an overdose in the 12 months ending in October 2021 – the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in 12 months.
In 2020, CareerSource Central Florida received $2.7M from the state of Florida to bring awareness to the opioid crisis and provide crucial training to businesses to aid job seekers and workers who have been impacted by opioid addiction. Utilizing funds from the grant, CareerSource Central Florida launched “Fostering Opioid Recovery through Training & Employment” (FORTE) together with Project Opioid – a four-year initiative that has to date reached more than 900 Central Florida businesses and individuals.
CareerSource Central Florida along with Project Opioid, the International Center for Addiction and Recovery Education (ICARE), Advanced Recovery Systems (ARS), the Greater Orlando Society of Human Resources Management (GOSHRM) and others are seamlessly working to provide training, certifications and educational offerings to local employers. These efforts are equipping HR professionals with skills and tools to support current employees and potential new candidates impacted by opioid addiction along their recovery journey to return to the workplace.
“The beauty of this program is that we are convening business owners, HR executives, and companies across a five-county region to help support and create a successful career journey for these residents, and they are answering the call enthusiastically,” said President & CEO of CareerSource Central Florida Pamela Nabors. “Partnering with a range of incredible subject matter experts, together we are creating new training solutions that encourage safe dialogue in the workplace about substance abuse, and also give much-needed support so these job-seekers can once again re-enter the workforce and lead successful, productive lives.”
Some of the educational tools and training available to HR professionals and businesses include:
· Free 20-hour training with live, instructor-led virtual meetings (tuition paid through CareerSource Central Florida grant dollars)
· Ability to earn SHRM re-certification credits under risk management, free with certain levels of participation · Earn a Certified Facilitator in Addiction Awareness – HR credential (CFAA-HR) developed by ICARE
· Community education webinar series on ways to support mental health and substance abuse concerns
· Full access to Advanced Recovery Systems University, an on-demand library and learning database
· Access to the Advanced Recovery Systems Wellness app, Nobu, that connects users to a suite of free mental health support tools and access to one-on-one mental health counseling
Upcoming training opportunities include:
· HR training - opens in August for a mid-September start
· Community training with ARS - August 9th, September 6th, and September 20th
The impact of the FORTE program is significant and has changed many lives. Among those who have benefited from FORTE is Akil Meade, a local resident who is on his recovery journey. Through FORTE at CareerSource Central Florida, Akil was able to get a job at Recovery Connections of Central Florida and is receiving “on the job training” to support individuals needing guidance during their substance recovery journey. In his role, Akil is able to use his personal experience to help individuals in recovery and help motivate them in the workforce.
“It is a blessing to have a job where I can help people through my personal experience, promoting and encouraging recovery from substance addiction,” said Akil Meade who is in recovery and the FORTE program with CareerSource Central Florida. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had, it feels good, and this is the first time I’ve felt able to support my kids and make it here in Florida.”
For more information on how businesses can engage with and benefit from FORTE, please visit https://www.careersourcecentralflorida.com/forte/.