AtlantiCare, Hard Rock look to hire Recovery Court ‘graduates’

Employers in Atlantic County are making an attempt to give individuals who are recovering from issues surrounded by drug abuse a second chance — and a job.

Each year, those convicted of nonviolent criminal offenses can be sent to Recovery Court (formerly known as drug court), a program in which they are required to seek treatment for drug dependency.

When the courts feel they have been rehabilitated, they graduate in ceremonies at Atlantic Cape Community College.

On Tuesday, the program graduated 77 individuals, the largest class in the history of the program.

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino are among the employers who are looking to hire these graduates.

“Working with our community to prevent and treat addiction and to support those in recovery is one of the ways we work to build healthy communities,” Samantha Kiley, executive director of the AtlantiCare Foundation, said. “Supporting those in recovery includes ensuring they have the necessary resources, and the ability to overcome barriers to sustain sobriety.”

Richard Lovering, senior vice president for administration and chief human resources officer of AtlantiCare, said it’s part of being a good corporate citizen.

“We know Recovery Court participants can face obstacles in their search for meaningful employment,” he said. “Our goal is that AtlantiCare and other employers partnering with Recovery Court can help participants overcome these barriers.”

Graduates who are hired can be required to meet certain conditions.

AtlantiCare, for instance, requires graduates to continue to appear in Recovery Court once a month for the first several months of employment.

Hard Rock executives attended the Tuesday graduation and said they are looking forward to finding opportunities for qualified individuals.

Robert Lee, vice president of community relations and government affairs, said he and Hard Rock investor Joe Jingoli met with graduates who have past hotel and casino experience and will be hiring some of them as full-time employees when the property opens in June.

“We will work cooperatively with organizations who will identify and train other Recovery Court graduates who do not have hotel/casino experience and look for opportunities to hire some of those individuals as well,” Lee said.

“We are thrilled that the hotel/casino industry as well as other large employers throughout the city have joined in this effort to hire individuals who in the past would have been overlooked for employment opportunities.”