Funds will expand Reliance Works employment program to Eastern Kentucky
WILLISBURG, September 16, 2021 —Isaiah House Inc., will expand its second chance employment program, Reliance Works, and provide employment opportunities and recovery support to six Eastern Kentucky counties with the help of a $1.2 million grant awarded by the Appalachian Regional Commission. This award is part of a nearly $46.4 million package supporting 57 projects across 184 counties in the Appalachian region through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative.
POWER targets federal resources to communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries.
Reliance Works, implemented by Isaiah House in 2015 in other areas of Kentucky, is a proven workforce model for second-chance employment for those in recovery. The program has included involvement in businesses such as construction, renovation, landscaping and lawn care, custodial work, demolition, and other business ventures.
With the ARC grant, which was one of 11 grants awarded in Kentucky, Reliance Works will expand to Estill, Jackson, Lee, Lincoln, Powell, and Wolfe counties.
“We know substance use disorder, limited work experience, criminal backgrounds, and poor work histories are barriers to employment for many, and access to employment is crucial for those who are in recovery and looking to rebuild their lives,” said Isaiah House Founder and CEO Mark LaPalme. “These communities not only have a high rate of poverty and unemployment but their economic recovery has been hampered by a high rate of drug abuse, particularly opioid addiction. The Reliance Works Employment and Recovery Project takes a multi-pronged approach to focus on job creation as well as services to help people overcome substance abuse.”
Isaiah House will partner with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP), Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), Estill Development Alliance, Bluegrass Workforce Investment Board (BGWIB), Operation UNITE, Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, and Pine Ridge Regional Industrial Authority for this expansion and will begin meeting with these regional partners and county officials in October to identify workforce needs, opportunities and services for participants.
The project sets out to create 50 to 60 jobs and provide on-the-job training for 70 to 80 people in recovery from substance use disorder as well as provide recovery supports including peer support, case management, transportation, behavioral health services offered through telehealth, and accountability through random drug testing. Two transitional living houses will also be established to provide affordable housing for Reliance Works workers who are homeless or recently completed a treatment program.
In addition to addressing barriers to employment such as housing and transportation, the project will also have a strong focus on assisting workers in acquiring relevant certifications and furthering their education, a hallmark of IH’s Workforce Development Program. Career services offered by Reliance Works partners, including EKCEP and BGWIB, will be utilized throughout this project and into the future to provide workers with opportunities to learn new skills, advance in their careers, and even pursue their own business ventures.
“Our second chance employment program and our workforce development initiatives have been very successful in our Central Kentucky communities,” said Isaiah House President Mike Cox. “Isaiah House exists to provide HOPE through Healing, Opportunity, Purpose and Employment. We look forward to expanding our outreach, resources and partnerships to fulfill this mission in Eastern Kentucky.”
In addition to The Reliance Works expansion, many of the projects announced Sept. 16 will invest in educating and training the Appalachian workforce, nurturing entrepreneurship, and supporting infrastructure.
“These investments in our Appalachian coal-impacted communities are critical in leveling the economic playing field so our communities can thrive,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin.
Since POWER launched in 2015, ARC has invested more than $287.8 million in 362 projects across 353 coal-impacted counties. The nearly $46.4 million awarded Sept. 16 is projected to create and retain over 9,187 jobs, attract nearly $519.5 million in leveraged private investments, and be matched by $59.2 million in additional public and private funds across the Region.
Isaiah House, Inc., is a residential, intensive outpatient, and outpatient treatment program with a gold standard of care for men and women in the state of Kentucky. Isaiah House is nationally accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and licensed with the state of Kentucky as an Alcohol and Other Drug Entity (AODE), as well as a Behavioral Health Service Organization (BHSO) for our outpatient services. Isaiah House is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.