With over 100,000 lives lost in 2022 alone, substance use disorder (SUD) continues to have major impacts on individuals, their loved ones, and the communities they reside within. This chronic disease presents a multifaceted challenge due to the combination of risk factors contributing to its development and its co-occurring conditions. Thus, recovery from a SUD is challenging, with individuals attempting recovery five times on average before achieving long-term recovery. Recovery housing represents an important resource for individuals in recovery, connecting them with the services and supports to build their recovery capital and eventually recover long-term. Acquisition of meaningful employment has been shown to be an important factor in building recovery capital, and significantly impacts recovery outcomes such as abstinence and quality of life. As individuals in recovery often face substantial barriers to obtaining employment such as past criminal justice involvement, gaps in employment history, lack of employer-required documentation (i.e., identification cards), upskilling, and employers’ lack of awareness regarding SUD recovery, innovative and comprehensive approaches to reduce barriers for individuals in recovery seeking employment are needed. In this session, we discuss a comprehensive, grassroots workforce development pilot program centered on employment coaches and community partners implemented in seven recovery houses across the United States. We discuss program components including qualifications of an employment coach and overall objectives of their role including identifying and educating potential recovery-friendly workplace employers and building relationships between employers and the recovery home, building recovery residents’ employability factors through the use of innovative technological tools, and identifying and addressing recovery resident employment barriers. Further, we present preliminary program evaluation, outcomes, and program and participant characteristics data provided by eighty-eight participating residents and seven employment coaches in areas such as employment barriers encountered, job satisfaction, recovery capital, and social connections. Lastly, we share resources to support recovery housing operators in creating their own workforce development programs that meet the needs of their unique resident population and housing programs, including overall programmatic direction as well as a presenting a newly published toolkit to aid small businesses in becoming recovery ready employers in supporting individuals in recovery from SUD.
1) Describe factors that contribute to a comprehensive workforce development program to support recovery housing residents.
2) Identify potential barriers and facilitators experienced by recovery housing residents seeking employment, recovery houses supporting employability options for residents, and employers unfamiliar with employment of individuals in recovery.
3) Develop an understanding of how meaningful employment can serve as an effective, low-barrier adjunctive recovery support service for individuals in recovery housing.
Date & Time
Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
The Plaza Ballroom
Recovery housing operators, employers, chambers of commerce representative, allies and recovery stakeholders.
Level of Experience
Intermediary -- Attendees should be familiar with basic aspects of topic and/or recovery housing.