Opioid-recovery program connects people directly and indirectly impacted by opioid use with resources

Posted on June 5, 2020 | Success Stories

Bangor Daily News

BANGOR — Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) President and CEO Lee Umphrey announces the launch of “Maine’s Connecting with Opportunities Initiative,” funded by a $6.2 million federal grant secured by Maine’s Department of Labor in partnership with EMDC. 

The new statewide initiative provides hope and opportunities to people directly or indirectly impacted by opioid use disorder (OUD), and to others who wish to work in occupations needed to mitigate the opioid crisis, including jobs in the healthcare and substance use disorder treatment fields. Through financial support and individualized guidance from new peer connector positions, eligible individuals will have access to education, training, employment and supportive services. 

“During the pandemic, it’s important to remember that Maine is still in the midst of an opioid crisis that ends or diminishes thousands of lives in our state each year,” Umphrey said. “EMDC was pleased to help secure the grant and looks forward to providing services for individuals, families and communities.” 

Maine’s “Connecting with Opportunities Initiative” is available statewide. EMDC is implementing the initiative with the Northeastern Workforce Development Board (NWDB) in Penobscot, Piscataquis, Hancock and Washington counties. Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP) will carry out the initiative in its area. Other workforce development agencies will provide similar services elsewhere in Maine. 

Specifically, EMDC will identify and serve individuals through partnerships with organizations, government agencies, and businesses, including: Maine’s Adult Drug Treatment Courts, community recovery centers, recovery residences, correctional facilities and non-profits providing services to the impacted population. 

An information session for interested organizations will be held Tuesday, June 16 at 2 p.m. via Zoom. Those interested in registering to learn more about the initiative are asked to contact Doug Dunbar at EMDC by e-mail or by calling 207-299-5626. 

EMDC has been a leader in providing resources and career advising to people with barriers to education and employment. During the past year, the non-profit has significantly expanded its outreach and service delivery to people in recovery from substance use disorder and individuals reentering Maine communities from places of incarceration who seek a new start. EMDC prioritizes collaboration, and strengthens the economy by keeping up with the changing needs of job seekers and businesses. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a national opioid-related public health emergency in 2017. In doing so, funding was made available through the U.S. Department of Labor to address workforce needs resulting from the opioid epidemic. 

Eastern Maine Development Corporation is a non-profit that fosters public-private partnerships and leverages resources to help communities, businesses and individuals reach long-term goals and achieve prosperity.

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