The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) was awarded $4.5 million in Dislocated Worker funding from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to address the negative impact the opioid epidemic is having on the workforce. The National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant to Address the Opioid Crisis was divided by three regions in Indiana, and Region 6 has created the E6 program, a comprehensive, transition-to-work program that provides individuals with specialized services that combine education and training to empower them to emerge victoriously over opioid addiction.

Two distinct populations are eligible:

  1. Individuals who are dislocated from employment, but not directly or indirectly impacted by opioids who are interested in receiving training in the career field of health, social services or peer recovery and addiction counseling.
  2. Individuals dislocated from employment who are directly or indirectly affected by opioids and are looking for a renewed chance to complete training and work in high-demand careers.

This project requires an “all hands on deck” approach. Robin Douthitt, Eastern Indiana Works Senior Director of Grants and E6 Program Director; Wayne Williams, Region 6 Project Director; Jake Siders, E6 Pathways to Success Career Coach, and Caitlin Zink, Eastern Indiana Works E6 Employer Engagement Manager, are working to help participants succeed as well as focus on the needs of the community.

Douthitt said, “This grant allows individuals to receive training in various areas to grow professionally and possibly begin a new career path, such as participating in certified community health worker or certified recovery training.”

E6 also partners with employers in the community to provide opportunities for individuals to build their resumes and enhance or learn a new skill set by pairing the employer with a potential employee in a Work Experience (WEX). The WEX generally lasts six to eight weeks but can be extended up to six months, and the employee’s salary is paid for through this grant.

The E6 Grant also provides funding for outpatient services for those who would benefit from substance abuse treatment. Eastern Indiana Works is partnering with local health care facilities to ensure that individuals are equipped with appropriate treatment plans to overcome barriers to achieve their highest potential in the workforce.

Once participants obtain their certification, they will have the opportunity to work as a Peer Recovery Coach through one of the partnering organizations and be able to use their personal experience in a positive way to help others overcome substance use obstacles in their lives.