BLUEFIELD, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined several state leaders at Recovery Point Four Seasons in Bluefield today to celebrate the progress of the new Jobs & Hope West Virginia program in the southern region of the state.
Jobs & Hope West Virginia is the result of the concept brought forth by Gov. Justice during his 2019 State of the State address, to remove barriers to job opportunities for those recovering from addiction.
The program has been operational across the state since a soft launch in August. In the time since, the program staff has received more than 500 referrals.
“We’re making real progress, there’s no question,” Gov. Justice said. “Is this the be-all and end-all? Of course not. But this is something on the way that can really be helpful.”
Established by Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Legislature with $29.7 million in funding for its first year, Jobs & Hope West Virginia offers support through a statewide collaboration of agencies that provide West Virginians in recovery the opportunity to obtain career training and to ultimately secure meaningful employment.
Jobs & Hope West Virginia is a beginning-to-end program that allows an individual to receive free addiction treatment while, at the same time, receiving free career technical education.
“We're all just the same, we all make mistakes, and substance use disorder truly is a disease that has grabbed hold of us,” Gov. Justice said. “We want everybody to be healthy, we want our families to be made whole, we want our workforce to get a boost. All of these things happen when we reach out to help each other. And that's exactly what this program does.”
The site of today’s event – Recovery Point Four Seasons in Bluefield – will be among the first of many treatment facilities across the state joining in with Jobs & Hope, to help people get started on the path to recovery.
“They have done incredible work here,” Gov. Justice said. “You can tell they want to be a part of it. You can just see it. If you’re me, looking out there at all those people who are involved in Recovery Point today, all you have to do is look in their eyes and you’ll see there’s incredible goodness going on.”
Assistance through the Jobs & Hope program is not only for those battling addiction. Any person seeking a pathway to more meaningful employment through job training, obtaining certifications, or other types of education may be eligible.
Anyone wishing to sign up or learn more about Jobs & Hope West Virginia can do so by calling 304-583-4008 or toll free at 1-833-784-1385. Those interested can also visit the program website: JobsAndHope.wv.gov
HOW IT WORKS:
The process begins when an individual, who is receiving treatment for substance use disorder, is determined to be ready for career training by professionals with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
At that point, the program participant is assigned to a single, dedicated transition agent. This agent, hired by the West Virginia Department of Education, will work with the participant throughout the entire process, assisting the participant in obtaining the appropriate level of qualifications, finding a job, and keeping it.
The transition agent will begin by conducting a needs assessment and building a personalized plan, for each participant, outlining education and career opportunities. The transition agent will also conduct assessments for potential support services needed, such as driver’s license reinstatement so long as the participant signs a contract agreeing to regular/random drug testing.
The transition agent will assist participants wishing to earn their high school equivalency.
Additionally, if the participant wishes to enter a field requiring a basic certification, such as food service, retail, or hospitality, among others, the participant will complete a 30-day job readiness and basic life skills training in order to obtain the associated certification. At this point, the participant may enter the workforce in one of these fields. However, more employment opportunities are also available.
The participant may pursue advanced career certifications in construction, customer service, and other fields at local adult and career training centers, community and technical colleges, or through programs offered by the West Virginia National Guard or the West Virginia Department of Transportation.
WorkForce West Virginia and the state Division of Rehabilitation Services will collaborate to assist the participant with job identification and placement. From there, the participant will enter the workforce.
If applicable, the participant can receive a one-time expungement for non-violent criminal offenses, signing a contract to agree to regular/random drug testing as a condition of expungement.
Even after their placement in the workforce, the participant will receive ongoing support from their transition agent and/or the Department of Health and Human Resources to ensure continued success.