WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded $5.5 million to 17 projects through INvestments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE), an initiative addressing Appalachia’s substance use disorder (SUD) crisis through projects that create or expand a recovery ecosystem leading to workforce entry or re-entry.
INSPIRE awardees will support the SUD recovery-to-employment continuum in seven Appalachian states by training and certifying recovery specialists, establishing cross-sector community recovery partnerships, expanding peer recovery support networks, launching recovery-to-work programs with a full spectrum of coordinated support services, and more.
“The substance use disorder crisis isn’t only a health and family issue—it’s a workforce issue. The devastating impacts of this crisis also have severe economic impacts, keeping many Appalachians of prime working-age from participating in the labor force and contributing to the Region’s economic growth,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “With ARC’s INSPIRE Initiative, we’re starting to change that. INSPIRE projects to focus on creating recovery-friendly work environments, providing supports to both individuals in recovery and their employers, and training individuals to meet the demand in growing professions. When we help individuals in recovery succeed, our communities succeed.”
“A major part of recovering from substance use disorder is being able to return to the workforce,” said ARC States’ Co-Chair Governor Ralph Northam. “The INSPIRE Initiative helps provide the treatment, support, and sustainable employment that it takes to get people on their feet and contribute to their community’s economy. I am proud of the strong collaborative efforts of our regional partners throughout Appalachian Virginia to bring this crucial program to our communities.”
INSPIRE draws on the work and recommendations developed by ARC’s Substance Abuse Advisory Council (SAAC) to address the disproportionate impact substance abuse continues to have on the Region’s workforce in comparison to the rest of the country. Since INSPIRE was established in April of 2021, ARC has invested $14.9 million in 47 projects.
ARC will be issuing a request for proposals for the third round of INSPIRE awards in the coming weeks. Additional information and resources are available at arc.gov/SUD.
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