Local Recovery-to-Workforce Programs Receive Funding

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two local projects that aim to help those in recovery gain training and employment were part of more than $2 million in announced funding from the Appalachian Regional Council.

Coleman Professional Services in Kent received $500,000 in state money toward a project to strengthen employment pathways and long-term recovery from substance use disorder. The program will provide individualized job placement services, provide support for employers and a collaborative referral system for providers and other partners.

Coleman, which has locations in Youngstown and Warren, will partner with three regional mental health and recovery boards, and the program will include workforce training programs provided by Flying High, Eastern Gateway Community College, Youngstown State University and Belmont Technical College.

Additionally, Valley Recovery Partners of Austintown, which is seeking to connect recovery-to-work partners with those who need those services and creating plans to redevelop an area building into a substance use disorder recovery center, received $50,000 in ARC funding. That project includes a partnership with Kent State University, the New Castle School of Trades, Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, the Eastern Ohio Correction Center and the city of East Liverpool.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s office on Monday announced more than $2 million in funding has been released by the Appalachian Regional Commission for six projects in the state, which support those recovering from substance use disorder and seeking to enter or re-enter the workforce.

The funding is part of the commission’s Investments Supporting Partnerships in Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) program. That program’s mission is to help address the disproportionate impact substance use disorder has on the workforce in the Appalachian region. 

Overdose-related mortality rates for individuals age 25 to 54 in the region were 72% higher than other non-Appalachian areas, according to the Appalachian Regional Commission, which cited CDC statistics.

Since INSPIRE was established in April 2021, ARC has invested nearly $42 million in 126 projects across 349 Appalachian counties, including 16 Ohio projects totaling more than $6 million. The region served by ARC stretches from northeastern Mississippi to southwestern New York and includes Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

“Connecting those in recovery to workforce training and career development will help them achieve success on the job and into their recovery journey,” DeWine said. “There is hope in recovery, and with support and services like these, Ohians can go on to live their version of the American Dream.”

Other projects in the state receiving funding were Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, $499,102; Future Plans Inc. in New Boston, $496,128; Rural Action Inc. in The Plains, $462,661; and the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corp. in Dover, $50,000.

Pictured at top: The Coleman Professional Services building at 611 Belmont Ave., Youngstown.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.