SUFFOLK COUNTY ANNOUNCES NEW JOB PROGRAM TO ASSIST INDIVIDUALS COPING WITH THE OPIOID CRISIS
County Executive Reminds Residents to Call 3-1-1 for More Information on Eligibility Requirements
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced part-time employment opportunities are available to individuals and family members that have been affected by the opioid crisis. The two-year program is funded through a half-million dollar federal grant to address the economic and workforce impacts associated with opioid addiction and overdose. The County Executive also urged residents to call 311 to learn more information on eligibility requirements.
“Through this program, we are helping our residents who are reeling from the damage of the opioid epidemic transition back into the work place and get their lives back,” said County Executive Bellone. “But we won’t stop there, we have already applied for a similar grant to be able to continue this program so we can help even more people get back on their feet.”
The program, which is administered through the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs, provides unemployed or under-employed Suffolk County residents affected by the opioid crisis with work experience and opportunities at area non-profits for sixteen weeks at a wage of $12 per hour. Through grant resources, county residents may access career training and become New York State-certified Recovery Coaches to assist individuals and their communities with combatting the impact of opioid addiction.
Earlier this year, Suffolk County was awarded a $501,224 Opioid National Dislocated Worker grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Under this grant the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs will provide 35 Suffolk County residents in recovery from or affected by the opioid crisis work experience opportunities in local healthcare related non-profits to assist in their transition back to gainful employment. Upon completion of these work experience opportunities these individuals should be able to continue working in a field related to anti-addiction services.
Additionally, the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs will train 20 individuals for a career in the demand occupation of Recovery Coach. Upon completion of this training all graduates will be New York State Certified Addiction Recovery Coaches. Upon gaining this certification these graduates will be helping the fight against opioid addiction and helping their fellow citizens.
To date, 15 unemployed or under employed Suffolk County residents affected by the opioid crisis are currently employed in work experience opportunities at local non-profits that are battling the opioid epidemic. Many of these individuals are working directly in their hometown communities and are at one of 13 non-profits that have partnered with Suffolk Labor. Additionally, 20 Suffolk County residents are starting career training this month to become certified Recovery Coaches to help our local citizens upon graduation, pay it forward to help others break the cycle of addiction.
A number of organizations have partnered with the County to provide work places for opioid-affected individuals to begin their journey back to employment. These include:
- Association of Mental Health and Wellness (Ronkonkoma, Yaphank)
- EOC Suffolk County (Patchogue, Central Islip)
- HALO Network, Inc. (Amityville)
- Hands Across Long Island (Central Islip)
- Hope House Ministries (Port Jefferson Station)
- Huntington Resource Center (Huntington)
- LGBT Network (Hauppauge)
- Tri Community Youth Agency (Huntington)
- Suffolk County Health Department (Hauppauge, Riverhead)
- United Veterans Beacon House (Bay Shore)
- United Way of Long Island (Deer Park)
- WellLife Network (Smithtown)
- West Islip Youth Enrichment Services (West Islip)
- Wyandanch Community Resource Center (Wyandanch)
Frank Nardelli, Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing & Consumer Affairs, said: “This grant enables us to continue serving the vulnerable population in Suffolk County. I think we all know someone, a co-worker, friend or family member that has been affected by the opioid crisis. This is a major health crisis not only in Suffolk , but nationally and most likely worldwide. Opioid addiction doesn’t discriminate. With the efforts of the County Executive, District Attorney, the police commissioner, health department our partners and health advocates, we are making some progress. Tis grant is a another tool in our toolbox to help residents that have been victimized by this epidemic. This is a new area of employment and training for the Labor department, but job training, job development, placement and support services are what we do best. We provide these services for the unemployed, under-employed and public assistance population and now individuals affected by the opioid epidemic.. The Labor department is continuously seeking new grants to help offset county costs and to expand services to help residents with employment issues. We are happy that we can be of help to residents that need it most.”
Linda Amalfitano, Office Manager of United Veterans Beacon House, said: “We are impressed with the progress of the participants in the dislocated work program and we see valuable work experience as well as self-confidence being gained. Our partnership with the Suffolk County Department of Labor has been a very positive experience and we hope to continue the partnership for the benefit of future success stories.”