Fostering Opioid Recovery through Workforce Development in Garrett County
Sarah Greene came to the Western Maryland Consortium in Garrett County in February 2021 ready to rebuild her life and find meaningful employment. As someone in recovery from being affected by the opioid epidemic, both Sarah’s parole officer and her substance abuse counselor encouraged her to call WMC to learn about the services and assistance that were available to her. Because of Sarah’s past struggles and her newfound motivation to enter the workforce, she was able to be dual enrolled as a WIOA Dislocated Worker client as well as into the new state of MD grant: Fostering Opioid Recovery through Workforce Development.
Upon first meeting with Sarah, WMC staff could see her desire to get back into the workforce. She explained that she was interested in office work and had some experience in that field. Immediately the Business Services Representative went to work looking for an opportunity for Sarah. A local Welding business needed an Administrative Assistant and agreed to offer Sarah an interview right away. She was offered the job on the spot! The business was interested in utilizing the Western Maryland Consortium’s On-the-Job Training program (OJT) as a financial incentive to hire Sarah on. In this program, 50% of the client’s wages were reimbursed to the business for the training period. WMC was also able to offer supportive services to Sarah to assist her with purchasing professional clothing for work, as well as pay for her public transit to get to and from her new job. Within a month of her new employment, Sarah was able to purchase her own vehicle and no longer relied on the public bus service.
Sarah’s OJT will end on May 1st and her future is looking bright. She is an example of how it is possible to overcome barriers, set goals, and achieve them. She is enjoying her work, her co-workers, and her new chapter of recovery and success.