Care Plus New Jersey, a pioneer in integrated primary and behavioral health services for adults and children, was awarded a one-year grant totaling $525,000 from the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development to launch its Pathways to Recovery Program for adults impacted by the opioid epidemic in northern New Jersey.
CarePlus NJ’s PTR Program will expand NJDOL’s statewide Pathways to Recovery Initiative in Bergen County, providing individuals with occupational and vocational services as well as wraparound access to substance abuse services and mental health care.
The goal of NJDOL’s Pathways to Recovery Initiative is to provide employment assistance to individuals with a personal history of opioid use, or who have a friend or family member with a history of opioid use, with employment assistance so they can reenter the workforce. Nine New Jersey counties are already offering their own Pathways to Recovery programs, including Atlantic, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic and Union.
CarePlus NJ will enroll 100 participants and provide assessments, registration, individual employment plans, career and training services with the goal for 80% of employees to be placed into unsubsidized employment and, of those placed, for 60% to retain employment for a minimum of 90 days.
“Several factors can make it difficult for individuals impacted by the opioid crisis to reenter the workforce, including gaps in employment, limited professional experience and other barriers such as lack of transportation, child care services and housing,” said Giesel Girona-Ussery, associate vice president of work incentive services, CarePlus NJ. “Our Pathways to Recovery Program will provide adults affected by the opioid epidemic with the vocational training, career resources and supportive services they need to achieve competitive employment outcomes as well as wraparound access to addiction recovery services and mental health care to sustain their recovery and promote mental wellness.”
CarePlus NJ PTR employment specialists will evaluate each referral for program eligibility on a case-by-case basis and conduct an employability assessment, which will determine which supportive services each individual needs to remove barriers to self-sufficiency. Supportive services include, but are not limited to transportation assistance, child care services, legal assistance, housing services, wraparound mental health care and substance use disorder recovery services.
Additionally, grant funding will be allocated to provide individuals in the PTR program with training opportunities that will increase marketable job skills and lead to long-term career paths for in-demand occupations. Participants that identify as appropriate and interested in careers in recovery services can engage in the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor coursework and/or the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Certification, taking advantage of the 270 hours of domain-specific core training CarePlus NJ offers, which is approved by the Addiction Professionals Certification Board of New Jersey. This offers a dual benefit, in that not only are participants being trained for a career, but also helping to fill the workforce that is combating the opioid epidemic.
To learn more about CarePlus NJ’s Pathways to Recovery Program or to make a referral, please call 201-265-8200, ext. 5538, or email GieselL@CarePlusNJ.org.