Addressing the Barrier of Addiction and Recovery
Identifying and maintaining gainful employment is, for most individuals, a key outcome and goal of recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). It is also one of the most substantial barriers facing individuals in early recovery. Residents who deal with these issues often struggle to proceed through the ABC (A job, Better job, Career) continuum, but the tight labor market Indy is experiencing offers opportunities because local businesses are in such need of skilled workers.
The Indiana Workforce Recovery Initiative, a partnership between the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Wellness Council of Indiana, invited EmployIndy to present to recovery coaches and others in the recovery community about the workforce resources available for their clients.
Adam Rothrock of Community Outreach Network Services attended “because I wanted to get connected to more career services for our clients who are all re-entry. There is a lot of insecurity from people with a criminal background, so understanding where we can go for a warm handoff or referral is important so they can find success without getting discouraged.”
During the presentation, attendees cited similar interests to Rothrock, as well as a desire for more stability in programs available, citing difficulty navigating a complex landscape of opportunities.
The business community and individual residents both stand to benefit if recovery coaches can better connect their clients to in-demand education, training, and jobs.
After an intro from Mike Thibideau of the Indiana Chamber and an overview of EmployIndy from our COO Marie Mackintosh, our talent alignment manager Jennifer Walde shared information about how recovery coaches and their clients can connect to WorkOne Indy and its community partner locations, along with the career services offered.
Aside from general information and resources, bringing this group together offered a chance to ask questions and discuss issues as with peers.
One key question that was addressed was “when should someone disclose their felony if they have one?” Conversation around this topic reminded the group that it can be detrimental for a job seeker to lead with that fact as the first detail about themselves during an interview – but similarly it can be detrimental to avoid the topic entirely and never mention it (because of the likelihood of a background check revealing it).
“This is a tricky subject, but ultimately we are talking about human beings and their lives that are impacted by the work we are trying to do here,” said Jennifer Walde. This difficult topic lead to sharing of experiences from attendees around the benefit of honestly sharing information about a felony and explaining the life changes that are in place to ensure a positive path moving forward.
“We hope that a better understanding of the resources and services available will help recovery coaches provide value to their clients,” said Marie Mackintosh. “We are giving a broad overview today, and we look forward to learning more about your specific workforce questions and addressing them in more detail as we continue this partnership with the Indiana Chamber.”