Workforce Snohomish receives $2.4 million to build pathway from opioid crisis to employment

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Recognizing the impact that the opioid crisis is having across the state, Washington State Employment Security Department, Workforce Snohomish and Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council have received a $4.89 million grant from the Department of Labor to aid in opioid epidemic recovery.

According to an announcement from Workforce Snohomish, the three-year grant will provide a multi-disciplinary approach, offering career and support services to individuals affected by the opioid crisis.

Workforce Snohomish’s portion of the grant is $2.4 million. .Grant funding will secure employment navigators to provide intake assessments, individual employment plan development, individualized career services, training coordination, career pathway counseling, job coaching, job placement and other other follow-up career services.

An important component will be developing transitional job opportunities, the announcement said. Services will primarily take place at two sites: WorkSource Everett and the future Carnegie Resource Center located on the Snohomish County Human Services/Law and Justice Complex in Everett. Anyone affected by opioid use, not necessarily an opioid user, is eligible for services through this grant.

“Opioid usage is not only a health crisis,” said Erin Monroe, CEO of Workforce Snohomish. “Opioids have affected the number of people available to fill open positions across our county.” A recent report by a Princeton economist indicates that two-thirds of prime age men who are not in the labor force are taking prescription pain medication on a daily basis. “Opioids have destroyed lives in our community and this funding will bring the necessary workforce and training programs to support these individuals and those around them as they re-engage with the workforce,” Monroe said.

“The opioid crisis impacts almost every aspect of our community,” added Dave Somers, Snohomish County Executive. “These funds will help us give those suffering from addiction vital pieces of their lives back: their sense of self-worth and productivity. We thank the U.S. Department of Labor, Washington Employment Security Department, and Workforce Snohomish for their partnership.”

The Workforce Snohomish announcement notes that Snohomish County has been disproportionately impacted by the opioid crisis. From 2012 to 2016, Snohomish County experienced 14.5 percent of all opioid-related deaths in Washington state. When just examining deaths related to heroin, Snohomish County accounted for 16.7 percent of all deaths in Washington state. In 2016 alone, 1 in every 6 heroin deaths (17 percent) occurred in Snohomish County while the county comprises only 10 percent of the state’s overall population.

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