By Denzel Dickens
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
The Maryland Department of Labor has begun accepting applications from organizations interested in tapping into more than $1 million in grants from the Opioid Workforce Innovation Fund, the department secretary said Thursday.
Tiffany P. Robinson said the fund helps organizations and local businesses find solutions to problems caused by the opioid crisis. This includes helping individuals with their employment outcome to keep a stable job.
More than $1 million has been invested into the program because of the successful partnership with the Maryland Department of Health, Robinson said. More than 200 people will get training and other services over a two-year span. However, grant awards will be capped at $75,000 for each group.
“Having an opportunity for employment can make a difference for folks recovering from substance use disorders, and rebuilding their lives,” said Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford, who is the chair of the Maryland Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force and the Inter-Agency Heroin and Opioid Coordinating Council.
Rutherford said that the collaboration among the Labor and Health departments, and the Opioid Operational Command Center shows the commitment of the Hogan administration to build an environment that helps people with previous addictions and other challenges. With a stable working environment, people can make positive choices for their future, he said.
More than $2.1 million have been invested into the fund to date, officials said. More than 200 Marylanders have been successfully placed in jobs and more than 330 people have earned professional certifications and credentials.
“Mental and behavioral health support are vital even in the best of times,” said Dennis R. Schrader, acting state Health Department secretary. “During this unprecedented time, workforce preparedness and employment are critical contributors to stability and well-being, especially for those impacted by the opioid crisis.”