Economic Development

CCPA Will Administer Drug-Free Workplace Program

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EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The Columbiana County Port Authority agreed Monday to administer a $20,000 drug-free workplace grant on behalf of the county Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

To that end, it formally became a partner of Working Partners Systems Inc., Columbus, which over 20 years has helped 1,700 companies to establish and run drug-free workplace programs, the Working Partners website says.

The grant comes from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Drug Addiction Services, which has divided $360,000 equally among 18 counties, including Mahoning, to study how best to combat the epidemic of addiction to drugs, both licit and illicit, and alcohol.

By cooperating with Working Partners’ Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative in a public-private partnership, the state of Ohio intends “to address the economic threat of substance abuse by employees and job seekers,” Kathie Chaffee, director of the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, said.

Among the goals of the initiative are having employers inform job applicants what their pre-employment drug testing consists of and what drug screenings can detect.

Five businesses, yet to be chosen, will be the nucleus of the program, Chaffee said. The human resources department of each will be provided with training valued at $2,000 on how to identify and deal with employees with dependencies.

Still unknown, Chaffee said, is whether the eight to 10 hours of training given the human resources departments will be online or from a staff member of Working Partners.

They will learn what impairment is beyond excessive absenteeism, Penny Traina said. Traina is executive director of the port authority.

Potential employers will meet with Chaffee and Traina at 1 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Lisbon train station.

Also at its meeting Monday, the port authority board authorized Traina to seek bids to repair the roof of the Leetonia Industrial Building in Leetonia. The winning bid will be $45,000 or less to repair the 4,000-square-foot roof that shelters the loading docks at 600 Cherry Fork. It should take the winning company about a week to complete the work, Traina said.

Traina presented William Dawes, co-chairman of the Downtown Salem Partnership, to report some “really, really good news.” Dawes gave a brief update on the success of the vinyl cling program that advertises the availability of empty storefronts in the central business district of the Quaker City.

Beyond the almost immediate success of the program, only $1,100 has been spent of the $9,000 the port authority appropriated through Dec. 31, Dawes reported, asking the port authority to extend the availability of the funds into next year.

The partnership targeted 18 vacant buildings and in the last 2½ to three months, businesses have moved into seven, Dawes reported. Two buildings had cracked windows, so the clings would not adhere to the glass, and the partnership could not locate the owners of two others and so cannot install them.

At present, seven vacant buildings have clings to advertise their availability. Owners of the other buildings have expressed interest in hanging a cling, Dawes reported.

Helping the program succeed, Dawes said was coverage of the clings in newspapers, including The Business Journal, that serve Salem and its business community.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.