FINDLAY, OH – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined health experts and community stakeholders at the Blanchard Valley Hospital as he leads bipartisan legislation to combine federal workforce and job training grants to address the workforce shortages caused by the addiction epidemic.
Earlier this year, Brown and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) secured a provision in a bipartisan Senate package, the Opioid Crisis Response Act, based on their CARE Act. The bipartisan package passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in April.
“I hear the same thing from Mayors all across Ohio: employers can’t fill openings because workers can’t pass drug tests, and Ohioans struggling with addiction can’t find a job to help them get back on their feet. We know addiction treatment and workforce training programs can be successful separately, but this crisis requires them to work together,” said Brown.
- Brown’s bill, the Collectively Achieving Recovery and Employment (CARE) Act, would combine existing grant programs at the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a six-year pilot project to combine job training and addiction recovery services.
Brown was joined at the roundtable discussion by Mayor Lydia Mihalik and Sheriff Michael Heldman as well as representatives from: the Findlay Hancock Alliance, Hancock County ADAMHS, Blanchard Valley Hospital System, Century Health, Focus on Friends recovery group, Hancock County United Way, and Hancock County Courts.
“Hancock County decided that the best way to solve our problem of substance use was to involve local officials, law enforcement, community leaders and volunteers, and medical professionals in developing together evidence-based best practices. Years of planning and implementing agreed upon strategies have begun to show progress. We appreciate the help of our state and national governments in financing the multi-factorial issues intertwined as root causes,” said Dr. William Kose, Chief Medical Officer at Blanchard Valley Medical Practices.
Brown developed the bill after hearing from mayors across Ohio that employers are having trouble finding workers who can pass drug tests, while Ohioans struggling with addiction can’t find a job to help them get back on their feet.
Brown and Capito’s bill would allow counties and Tribes to apply for competitive grants directly as long as they have a qualified local workforce organization and nonprofit addiction treatment organization willing to participate. The bill also directs DOL and HHS to establish certain reporting criteria grantees would have to meet.
More information on the CARE Act can be found here.