More than a half-million dollars in federal grant money is on its way to the Rochester area to help fight the opioid epidemic, New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday.
The money is focused on workforce development, which Hochul said the state is approaching from two angles.
The first is to help people in recovery from addiction find stable jobs. Hochul said that’s necessary to keep people feeling fulfilled and working toward a drug-free goal.
The second is to hire more people to work in jobs connected to addiction treatment and recovery, like counselors, therapists and clinicians.
The money is part of a grant from the federal labor department. New York state’s labor department received $5.59 million in funding; Hochul said the Rochester area is getting about one-sixth of that total. The money will be distributed locally by the Rochester branch of the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence.
“The recovery field is growing exponentially, and these were jobs we didn’t think we needed a few years ago, but now there is high demand for them,” Hochul said.
And getting any stable job can be a difficult prospect for people trying to re-enter the workforce while recovering from addiction. The unemployment rate for people in recovery is twice that of the general population.
The grant is a “double-win” for the Rochester area, said Mike Green, the state commissioner of criminal justice services.
“Not only are you helping folks, in some instances, who previously struggled with addiction to get back into the workforce,” Green said. “You’re also putting folks into careers and jobs that are then going to turn around and help more people.”