Home » Ky Chamber Foundation announces graduation of “Fair Chance Academy”

Ky Chamber Foundation announces graduation of “Fair Chance Academy”

The Bottom Line: by Sawyer Coffey

FRANKFORT, Ky. — As part of an ongoing effort to address Kentucky’s workforce challenges by hiring individuals in need of meaningful employment, the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Workforce Recovery Program has announced the completion of its second “Fair Chance Academy,” with 34 business leaders from companies of all industries and sizes graduating from the program in February.

The business leaders that participated in the Fair Chance Academy are certified as “Fair Chance Employers” by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy and the Kentucky Chamber Foundation. This certification is committed to finding, hiring, and retaining fair chance talent.

The program took place over the course of three full-day training sessions, held on February 1st, 8th, and 15th at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce office in Frankfort. During each session, employers gained valuable training, information, and resources to successfully foster transformational employment opportunities for individuals in recovery from substance use disorder who are ready to re-enter the workforce. Participating businesses will now spend the next three months implementing what they have learned with the support of the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Workforce Recovery Program. This partnership will continue, as needed, to assist their business in the long-term goal of being a fair chance employer and providing more opportunities and career growth for the fair chance population.

“The Kentucky Chamber Foundation is proud to offer this training to employers across the Commonwealth. Assisting businesses in becoming fair chance employers not only helps address their critical workforce needs but also helps change lives for Kentuckians that need stable employment,” said Kentucky Chamber Foundation Senior Vice President Beth Davisson. “This program has already brought about real results for Kentucky employers, and we are excited to continue our work in providing opportunities and eliminating barriers for Kentuckians on the road to long-term recovery.”

“The Fair Chance Academy is an opportunity to empower businesses to play a larger role in the recovery process for their current and future employees,” said Van Ingram, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. “The 34 business leaders who have completed this program will return the tools and resources they have learned to their employers, which will set their companies and employees up for long-term success.”

The 2023 cohort included 34 participants from across the state representing a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and agriculture:

“I feel so fortunate to have attended the academy these last three weeks. Before this, I felt alone, and this task ahead of me was all on me to do by myself,” said The Jordan Center CEO David McKenzie. “Now, I feel like I have tremendous resources that I have never had before. It gives me even more confidence that we will be successful in doing something that no one else has ever done. No one has ever tried to do this in my industry, and now I have a path forward.”

The initiative is part of the Kentucky Transformational Employment program, launched in 2021 to provide a pathway for employers to help more Kentuckians reach long-term recovery from substance use disorders.

The Fair Chance Academy was established through funding from Isaiah House, The Just Trust, Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE), and the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

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