Re-connecting with the work force after something like battling addiction is no easy feat. You may need supported work environments or have new hurdles
that must be overcome in order to return to work. In Snohomish County, Workforce Snohomish has been granted $2.4m to coordinate an employment strategy
to get those who have overcome addiction back to work and able to lead healthful lives that hopefully redirect them out of the cycle of poverty and
addiction. See below for full press release.
EVERETT – 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 grant of $4.89 million from the Department of Labor to aid in Opioid Epidemic Recovery.
The 3-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. Workforce Snohomish and Snohomish County partners have organized around an
Emergency Management framework to collaborate and develop an opioid education and employment strategy. 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. 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. 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,” stated 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.”
“The opioid crisis impacts almost every aspect of our community,” said Dave Somers, Snohomish County Executive. “We have worked hard over the last year
to provide more people the opportunity to move from dependence to independence. When I partially activated our emergency management system in 2017,
it was with the intention to improve coordination and effectiveness of all our efforts. This grant is a perfect example. 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.”
Workforce Snohomish is excited to collaborate with partners across the workforce system and Snohomish County; the State of Washington, and Pacific Mountain
Workforce Development Council on this initiative.
Snohomish County has been disproportionately impacted by the opioid crisis:
The total admissions related to opioids for publicly funded outpatient treatment in Snohomish County has increased by 1,181.8% between 2002 and 2015 (165 total admissions compared to 2,115). In 2005, 12.5% of total admissions into publicly funded detox were related to opioids compared to 73.2% in
2016. In terms of the rate of opioid-related deaths per 100,000, it has increased by 49.4% in comparing the timeframe of 2000-2004 to the 2012 to 2016
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% 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.
Beyond the mortality data, Snohomish County also has a higher rate of opioid prescriptions dispensed per 100 persons than both the state and national rates.
In 2016, there were enough opioid prescriptions dispensed in Snohomish County for seven out of ten residents to have a prescription. In any given week there are between 135 and 147 individuals in the Snohomish County Jail on a detoxification withdrawal watch for opioids.
Governor Inslee’s Press Release: https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/washington-awarded-nearly-5-million-federal-funds-help-people-affected-opioid-crisis-find
To learn more about the Opioid Crisis in Snohomish County, visit: http://snohomishoverdoseprevention.com/
To learn more about Workforce Snohomish, visit our website: www.WorkforceSnohomish.org
U.S. Department of Labor Press Release: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osec/osec20180724