U.S. Sen. Doug Jones is joining another Democrat and a Republican to introduce legislation to establish a pilot program to integrate career training and support services into addiction recovery programs.
The Jobs Plus Recover Act, sponsored by Jones, Sen. Tim Kain, D-Virginia, and Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, would provide individuals impacted by opioid addiction and other substance abuse disorders to access job training to lessen their likelihood of relapse.
Jones, Kain and Todd are members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Jones said in a statement Tuesday that the opioid epidemic has devastated many families, communities and local economics and that job training could help mitigate those effects when combined with addiction treatment programs.
“When folks are working hard to recover from opioid addiction, we should make sure they have the support they need to be successful and re-enter their communities fully,” Jones said. “Through this job-training initiative, we are taking steps to help them thrive in recovery and break the dangerous cycle of addiction,” Jones said.
Jones’ office pointed to research showing that having consistent work improves the likelihood that addiction treatment will be successful.
This new pilot program would allow local communities to create partnerships between substance use disorder treatment providers and job services and training providers. Jones said the legislation will help communities in Alabama and across the country where the opioid crisis has been the most severe.
Kaine said in a statement that a job opportunity for those affected by the crisis has exacerbated its effects.
“We must find a way to address this crisis and to help those who are trying to get back on their feet, stay there,” Kaine said. “By ensuring that job training is a part of the recovery process, we are investing in better outcomes, which will have a positive impact on the economy, employers, and entire communities.”
Young said the goal of the program would be to give businesses and employers the tools needed to positively impact addiction treatment outcomes and turn around the lives of those affected so they can contribute to the economy once they recover.
“During one of my recent Fair Shot Agenda roundtables, I heard from an Indiana plastics manufacturing firm that took a chance by hiring a Hoosier who had struggled with addiction issues,” Young said. “This week, that same Hoosier is graduating from drug treatment court and serves as a valuable employee. With the Jobs Plus Recovery Act, we can replicate this success story across Indiana and the entire country.”