In Economic Mobility, Program Reports, Systems Change

Supporting our community members in recovery and those affected by the opioid crisis is vital to the economic success of our region.
The goal of the recovery grant was to provide individualized career coaching, planning, training and employment opportunities to individuals facing barriers to economic stability and prosperity, specifically to those whose lives have been impacted by opioid addiction. Programs funded through the grant provided support services and wrap-around assistance to increase successful employment outcomes both in the near and long term.

WSW partnered with recovery, reentry and health organizations across Southwest Washington to provide informed and holistic services to those impacted by the opioid epidemic.

Grant Partners

Chai Rivers Recovery Café • CORE Health • Kelso Comprehensive Treatment Center • Lifeline Connections • Open House Ministries • PeaceHealth • Recovery Café Clark County • SWACH • Vancouver Housing Authority • Wahkiakum County Health and Human Services • WorkSource • Xchange Recovery

Through these partnerships, 272 individuals were served with career, education and support services. As a result, 127 participants have returned to work in occupations such as commercial driver’s license (CDL) driving, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), registered nurse, customer service, phlebotomy, business administration, chemical dependency counselor, construction, medical lab technician and more. The average annual wage upon exiting to employment was $47,611. Six participants received training in professional fields that can have an impact on the opioid crisis.


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Melissa’s Story

Melissa was working in a financial role but lost her job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her company was shut down and she was laid off. Melissa was in a panic and did not know where to go. Her unemployment advisor recommended she attend the WorkSource employment and training orientation. At WorkSource, she met with a talent development specialist and took an online assessment.

Melissa had family members who struggled with addiction and wanted to do something to help others. Since she had been affected by the opioid crisis, she was eligible for services through the recovery grant. Melissa decided to return to school and earn her bachelor’s degree in human services with an emphasis on chemical dependency.

She started school a few years prior but had to drop out due to her financial situation and take a full-time job. As a single mom working an internship and going to school full-time, Melissa had run out of financial aid and needed assistance to complete her last two quarters. Working with a talent development specialist at WorkSource, Melissa applied for scholarship funds to finish her last two terms. She was awarded a scholarship and earned her degree. While enrolled in the program, WorkSource provided Melissa with gas and clothing vouchers.

Melissa had an internship with Lifeline Connections during her education and afterwards was hired full-time to work in case management with jail transition services. After working with the company for a year, she transitioned to a new role working with the court. In her role, she recommends that her clients utilize services through WorkSource to gain education, training and career services. She started graduate school and is working to become a licensed mental health and substance abuse social worker.

WSW received additional grant funds that were invested in businesses and organizations that support our community in recovery. With the funds, WSW provided equipment to recovery organizations and hosted two events focused on recruitment and retention of those in recovery and reentering the workforce.

Our team provided $15,000 in technology equipment to three recovery organizations, Chai Rivers Recovery Café in Cowlitz County, Recovery Café Clark County and Lifeline Connections in Vancouver, WA. The equipment is used to participate in training and job preparation and search activities.

Our two recovery-focused events saw a total of 178 attendees across Clark and Cowlitz counties. Ty Reed of Recovery Career Services presented on the benefits of hiring people in recovery and how to support and retain employees with substance use disorder and who are reentering the workforce.


WSW’s Opioid NDWG program is supported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. $408,478 (100% of total) is financed by PY23 allocation of Federal funds.

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