Wednesday, 20 December 2017 07:23

Hancock County Commissioners approve $100,000 to fund Workforce program Featured

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ELLSWORTH - A pilot program helping those recovering from substance abuse land full time jobs is celebrating it's first anniversary. Officials are praising its success and looking for funding to expand it.

 "It takes a village to bring our people back away from the drugs and alcohol," said Joanna Russell, the executive director for the Northeastern Workforce Development Board.


Earlier this year, a pilot program was created in the effort to help those looking to break free from substance abuse. The Hancock County Recovery and Workforce Development project is helping individuals receive the necessary skills to land full time job positions.


"90 percent of the individuals who go back to work, they stay at work for 6 months, do not go back to jail," said Russell. 


The Hancock County Commissioners approved over $100,000 to fund the program. 50 percent of those funds will go to Open Door Recovery, a program that helps those struggling with addiction. It is the first step for individuals seeking help. The other 50 percent goes to the Workforce program. It's being taken out of the community benefit account.


"We want the community to recognize that these individuals are strong contributing community members now, so we need to reduce that stigma," she said. 


Not only does this help individuals turn their lives around, but it also helps the local economy.


"I think it's important to think about, how much does it cost to house an individual in the jail on a daily basis," said Russell. "There's a huge cost savings there, when someone comes out of jail, they connect up with recovery resources and go back to work."


According to Melissa Morse, she never expected to be where she is today. For 28 years, she was addicted to drugs and was often arrested. She said, she decided that it was time to change her life around.


"This program has helped me get back into the community and gave me the confidence to go back into the community and work a real job," said Morse. "I am clean today and I am doing well at it."


She said, she's been clean for over a year and now works a full time job. This program is designed to help many people like Morse start new lives.


"I think more work needs to be done around building a strong recovery community and connecting our town with recovery, so that they understand that it's a builder," said Russell. 

Jack Hilton

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Jack Hilton joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX Fox 22 in March of 2016. He was born in Montreal, Canada but was raised in the sunshine state, Fort Lauderdale before graduating cum laude from Husson University with a Bachelor’s deg...