To succeed in becoming productive employees in the 21st Century economy, people who experience alcohol and drug problems often require substance abuse treatment as well as employment services.
Integrating substance abuse treatment and employment services benefits both types of services. Because alcohol and drug abuse can prevent otherwise capable individuals from securing employment, individuals with related problems may not be able to benefit from workforce development services until they get treatment. In turn, workforce development increases the likelihood of success for those in treatment for or in recovery from addiction. Steady employment contributes to sustained sobriety by serving as a rewarding, meaningful alternative to drug use.
Examples of increased integration include:
- Co-locating substance abuse treatment personnel at One-Stop Career Centers to provide onsite screening and assessment for substance abuse problems.
- Co-locating workforce development staff at treatment facilities to provide job training and placement services.
- Training workforce development personnel on substance abuse basics and how to appropriately refer job seekers who may need treatment.
- Offering non-medical treatment services such as counseling and other support services at One-Stop Career Centers.
- Having substance abuse treatment service agencies or providers participate on WIBs.
A number of Drug-Free Workforce Promising Practices provide examples of effective collaboration and service coordination in action. These were developed and presented as part of the July 2003 Drug-Free Workforce Conference convened by DOL. This conference explored ways employers, substance abuse treatment professionals and workforce development providers can collaborate to improve productivity and other employment outcomes for individuals with a history of substance abuse.
A number of resources can help foster increased collaboration. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Substance Abuse Treatment Locator offers the opportunity for employment service providers to locate treatment facilities in their communities.
Likewise, America’s Service Locator can connect treatment providers with employment service providers in their communities. Treatment providers also may be able to be included as a service provider in this public online database. America’s Service Locator is one component in a series of online tools, collectively called Career One Stop.