Rockville, Md. – High levels of unemployment among those with opioid use disorders, already a significant concern for the past two decades, are soaring amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To promote both substance use disorder recovery and economic well-being, the Department of Labor’s Chief Evaluation Office has awarded Abt Associates, in partnership with MDRC, a $1.5 million, 5-year contract to evaluate its Support to Communities: Fostering Opioid Recovery through Workforce Development Grant Program.
Under the program, state workforce agencies in four states (Florida, Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin) will use their grants to:
(1) develop innovative approaches to address the economic and workforce-related impacts of opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUDs) in local communities
(2) establish partnerships with employers, treatment and training providers, and others to address SUDs or OUD
(3) provide career, training, and employment services as well as screening, treatment, and other supportive services to affected individuals and families
(4) encourage program participants to enter professions that could address the SUD crisis and/or provide skills training that would help them find and retain employment in in-demand occupations.
Abt’s evaluation will include a knowledge development phase, a comprehensive implementation study, and an assessment of the feasibility of a rigorous impact evaluation.
“The connection between employment and the SUD recovery process is critical,” says Karin Martinson, the principal investigator. “We’re eager to help the workforce system understand how it can support that connection.”
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a global consulting and research firm that uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people’s lives. From combatting infectious disease and conducting rigorous program evaluations, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing—and more—we partner with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges. https://www.abtassociates.com