On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis announced that the state of Florida has been awarded $5 million in funding to create a new pilot program “Support to Communities: Fostering Opioid Recovery through Workforce Development.”
Addressing the health and economic impacts of widespread substance and opioid misuse, addiction and overdose, funding will provide wrap-around services including recovery and supportive services, career training and employment services to participants directly impacted by the opioid epidemic.
“The opioid crisis continues to be a public health concern in Florida,” said Gov. DeSantis. “We are grateful to U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia for partnering with Florida to implement this pilot program which will help create a talent pipeline for unfilled positions, offer opportunities to prepare those working in these fields to better identify and respond to individuals with a substance misuse disorders and prepare individuals in recovery to become peer counselors. We remain committed to helping Floridians who are being impacted by the opioid pandemic and look forward to our continued work with our public and private partners.”
“Workforce development is a critical and too-often overlooked part of assisting individuals that have struggled with mental health and substance abuse challenges,” said First Lady DeSantis. “I look forward to seeing these funds put into action.”
“Governor and First Lady DeSantis have been innovative leaders in helping Floridians impacted by the opioid epidemic,” said Dane Eagle, the executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). “The Department of Economic Opportunity is honored to be a part of their solution to help Floridians regain their lives after battling substance and opioid abuse. We look forward to working with our partners across the state to provide Floridians with opportunities to gain necessary skills towards gainful employment, benefiting themselves and their families and helping in Florida’s economic recovery.”
With funding provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, DEO will work with a number of community partners to address the economic effects of widespread substance misuse, including opioid abuse, addiction and overdose in significantly impacted service areas. These partners include Local Workforce Development Boards, Medical/Treatment Facilities, Local Governments, Law Enforcement Entities, Opioid Consortia, Community-Based Organizations and Educational Institutions. Together, the program will provide multiple services to assist individuals affected by the opioid epidemic to help them transition back into the workplace.
“We appreciate Governor and First Lady DeSantis for their steadfast commitment to supporting individuals battling the opioid epidemic across our state,” said Pamela Nabors, the president and CEO of CareerSource Central Florida. “CareerSource Central Florida is looking forward to working with the Department of Economic Opportunity and our local partners to make a positive impact in the lives of these individuals during their critical recovery process.”
In addition to helping Floridians who are affected by the opioid epidemic, this program supports training for new employees and incumbent workers in medical, mental health and substance-abuse recovery-related fields. This training will create a talent pipeline for unfilled positions, offer opportunities to prepare those working in these fields to better identify and respond to individuals with substance abuse disorders and prepare individuals in recovery to become peer counselors.
“Support to Communities: Fostering Opioid Recovery through Workforce Development” is a continued effort to help combat the opioid crisis in Florida. In April 2019, Gov. DeSantis signed Executive Order 19-97, to establish the Office of Drug Control. During this time, Florida was awarded $26 million in federal funding for Florida’s State Opioid Response Project, which is designed to address the opioid crisis by reducing opioid deaths, preventing opioid abuse among young people and increasing recovery services and access to treatment. Additionally, in April 2019, DEO received an opioid-crisis Dislocated Worker Grant to combat the opioid epidemic in Florida and continues to provide employment opportunities to individuals recovering from opioid abuse.