CAO gets grant for Recovery Ecosystem Expansion Initiative

Published 1:49 am Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization has gotten a grant to help the recovered get back into the workforce.

The Appalachian Regional Commission has given the CAO a $500,000 grant for the Recovery Ecosystem Expansion (REE) Initiative.

ARC said the REE project will strengthen the CAO’s recovery ecosystem by implementing an Intensive Outpatient Program into the agency’s recovery-to-work program, which will aid recovery-to-work participants in maintaining recovery progress and work placement success.

“What we are hoping to do with this assistance is the continued case management of recovering individuals, with all the medical and empowering services needed, and to be able to match them up and place them with employers, and to work with them until we know they are fully transitioned with those employers,” said Ralph Kline, the assistant executive director of the Ironton-Lawrence CAO. “Also, there is opportunity of employers to refer their employees into our programs and then likewise to do follow up to keep them employed.”

In addition to providing a greater level of behavioral health and recovery support to REE participants, the expanded outpatient services will offer new employment opportunities for individuals in recovery, which includes peer support specialists, case managers, and administrative support. The project will implement IOP services and train recovering participants while also securing placement partnerships with new recovery-friendly employers.

“As to the types of jobs, we will try to match to the individual’s capabilities and skills. It may also include job trainings and certifications,” Kline said. “One program for example is working with Collins Career and Heavy Equipment Operators to train and get certified to operate heavy equipment.”

He said client training can include building maintenance and construction skills, front office and medical field.

“This appears to be good job opportunities, if individuals can step up and don’t run into any road blocks,” Kline said.

The project will improve eight businesses, 70 workers/trainees, and eight students throughout the life of the grant. Local sources are contributing more than $1.3 million to the project.