CLARKSBURG, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined several state leaders at the United Technical Center in Clarksburg today to celebrate the progress of the new Jobs & Hope West Virginia program in the north-central region of the state.
Jobs & Hope West Virginia is the result of the concept brought forth by Gov. Justice during his 2019 State of the State address, to remove barriers to job opportunities for those recovering from addiction.
The program has been operational across the state since a soft launch in August. In the time since, the program staff has received 481 referrals.
“I could never be more proud of the progress that’s already been made in such a short time,” Gov. Justice said. “Now, we’ve got to keep after it. We’ve got to keep going.”
Established by Gov. Justice and the West Virginia Legislature with $29.7 million in funding for its first year, Jobs & Hope West Virginia offers support through a statewide collaboration of agencies that provide West Virginians in recovery the opportunity to obtain career training and to ultimately secure meaningful employment.
Jobs & Hope West Virginia is a beginning-to-end program that allows an individual to receive free addiction treatment while, at the same time, receiving free career technical education.
“It’s as simple as recognizing that we’ve got a real problem,” Gov. Justice said at today’s event. “We’ve got people that have real issues, as far as all kinds of addiction in every way. We’ve got to help those people. We’ve got to bring those people back. To be able to do that, we need to give them free help and encourage them to get help.”
Assistance through the Jobs & Hope program is not only for those battling addiction. Any person seeking a pathway to more meaningful employment through job training, obtaining certifications, or other types of education may be eligible.
“We’ve given you a pathway,” Gov. Justice said. “A pathway where, if you had no addiction problem whatsoever, you just wanted to have training. Or a pathway where, if you’ve got a real addiction problem, to be able to get away from all that stuff and to be able to get on with your life.
“It’s a pathway to reunite our families back together and to be great West Virginians like I know we are in every way.”
Anyone wishing to sign up or learn more about Jobs & Hope West Virginia can do so by calling 304-583-4008 or toll free at 1-833-784-1385. Those interested can also visit the program website: JobsAndHope.wv.gov
Click here to visit JobsAndHope.wv.gov
HOW IT WORKS:
The process begins when an individual, who is receiving treatment for substance use disorder, is determined to be ready for career training by professionals with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
At that point, the program participant is assigned to a single, dedicated transition agent. This agent, hired by the West Virginia Department of Education, will work with the participant throughout the entire process, assisting the participant in obtaining the appropriate level of qualifications, finding a job, and keeping it.
The transition agent will begin by conducting a needs assessment and building a personalized plan, for each participant, outlining education and career opportunities. The transition agent will also conduct assessments for potential support services needed, such as driver’s license reinstatement so long as the participant signs a contract agreeing to regular/random drug testing.
The transition agent will assist participants wishing to earn their high school equivalency.
Additionally, if the participant wishes to enter a field requiring a basic certification, such as food service, retail, or hospitality, among others, the participant will complete a 30-day job readiness and basic life skills training in order to obtain the associated certification. At this point, the participant may enter the workforce in one of these fields. However, more employment opportunities are also available.
The participant may pursue advanced career certifications in construction, customer service, and other fields at local adult and career training centers, community and technical colleges, or through programs offered by the West Virginia National Guard or the West Virginia Department of Transportation.
WorkForce West Virginia and the state Division of Rehabilitation Services will collaborate to assist the participant with job identification and placement. From there, the participant will enter the workforce.
If applicable, the participant can receive a one-time expungement for non-violent criminal offenses, signing a contract to agree to regular/random drug testing as a condition of expungement.
Even after their placement in the workforce, the participant will receive ongoing support from their transition agent and/or the Department of Health and Human Resources to ensure continued success.