Alaska awarded $1.2 million to expand workforce opportunities for individuals affected by the opioid crisis

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a competitive grant of $1,263,194 to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to provide training and upskilling to workers in professions that support individuals struggling with addiction and expand career opportunities for Alaskans affected by opioid use, addiction, and overdose.

The “Opioid Crisis Intervention and Community Involvement Project” is a two-year grant to improve employment opportunities and outcomes for individuals impacted by the effects of the opioid crisis. The department will partner with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice, community-based organizations, and health care providers to serve over 600 youth and adults across the state. The project will inform at-risk youth about the dangers of opioid addiction; increase training for behavior health care providers; provide employment supports and services for individuals impacted by the opioid crisis; support teachers through early intervention training; and supply health care partners with Bridge Auricular Stimulators to combat withdrawal symptoms.

“By targeting workforce training and services to those affected by opioids, this project supports Governor Walker’s focus on addressing this severe public health emergency in Alaska,” said Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas. “We look forward to partnering with other agencies and with health care providers across the state to combat this crisis.”

On February 15, 2017, Governor Bill Walker declared Alaska’s opioid epidemic a public health crisis. This project, as one component of the Governor Walker’s “Safer Alaska” initiative, will bolster other response efforts throughout the state. The project builds upon existing supports and training services by creating new pathways to training opportunities, providing early intervention in communities, and upskilling health care workers to better serve individuals affected by the opioid epidemic.

This press release was provided by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.