FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Department for Workforce Investment (DWI), within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, has partnered with the Department of Corrections (DOC), Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center to implement Strategic Initiative for Transformational Employment (SITE) to enhance career and recovery services for Kentuckians impacted by substance abuse.
Kentucky received $100,000 in U.S. Department of Labor Fidelity Bonding Demonstration Grant funding to expand use of fidelity bonds to help individuals with criminal backgrounds and those recovering from a substance abuse disorder to find employment opportunities in the Commonwealth.
Through the Department for Workforce Investment, fidelity bonds are issued to employers to assist with job placement of formerly incarcerated and at-risk job applicants. Fidelity bonds provide employers with a limited-liability insurance at no cost in an effort to help insure employers against theft, forgery, larceny or embezzlement for the first six months of employment of at-risk employees.
“The Department for Workforce Investment plays an integral role in helping employers leverage federal bond funding to support the hiring of individuals with barriers to employment,” said Department for Workforce Investment Commissioner Lana Gordon. “SITE allows us to collaborate with our partners to expand job placement and employment services for individuals transitioning out of incarceration and those battling substance abuse disorder.”
As part of the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE), SITE will allow Kentucky to focus on increasing employment and training opportunities for individuals in recovery, minimize barriers to employment, and help employers to support and retain employees who are in the recovery process. Job Entry and Retention Support Specialists will work closely with probation and parole offices to offer career counseling, community support services, training and job placement assistance through the Kentucky Career Center to individuals transitioning out of incarceration.
“SITE is a tremendous program focused on enhancing Kentucky’s business community by helping employers grow their talent pipelines and support their employees,” said Beth Kuhn, chief engagement officer Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “With the collaborations of the many state government agencies as well as the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, this innovative and transformative program would not be possible. This is an extraordinary effort among our state’s government and business leaders to respond to the needs of our employers and support individuals in recovery.”
The Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center is playing a critical role by working to engage the business community as part of the solution in addressing the state’s opioid crisis. The Chamber will work directly with employers to increase employers’ understanding of the vital role that they play in addressing the opioid crisis by providing wrap around support services within the workplace. Chamber Employment Specialists will assist employers in addressing issues relating to prevention, treatment and recovery.
“Kentucky’s business community has become acutely aware in recent years that the state’s opioid epidemic is more than a public health issue, it is also a serious workforce issue and employers have to be a part of the solution,” said Beth Davisson, Executive Director Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center.