Hiring Employees in Recovery Should Be a Community Advantage

This collaboration between Wayside House and the Delray Beach Drug Task Force will provide leadership that will have a positive economic impact on the community.

Substance use disorders and other addictive problems are considered diseases that require a collaborative effort with family, community, education, peer groups and vocational services to see more long-term successful outcomes.

Active drug abuse affects society in many ways. In the workplace, it is costly in terms of absenteeism and lost productivity. Active drug users are more likely than nonusers to have occupational accidents, endangering themselves and those around them. Additionally, it costs the community hundreds of thousands of dollars for lost work time, unemployment insurance, long- and short-term disability, and the impact to social services such as food stamp assistance.

There is a solution on the horizon in Delray Beach. Through a grant from the Posner Foundation, Wayside House in Delray Beach will open the first Tina Posner Center for Career Excellence (Posner Career Center) that will help women recovering from substance abuse prepare for interviews, find and retain jobs, as well as assist them with future career goals, thus aiding in their returning to become productive, contributing members of the community.

“Some people who enter recovery have lost the job that they loved, but most never even knew that it was possible to have a job that they love. It’s not on their radar,” said Marlies Jones, Director of Posner Career Center. “The only thing on their radar is survival. Creating a mindset that work can be meaningful and rewarding is paramount to recovery success and ultimately a success to the employer.”

Two big triggers in relapse are financial and social stressors. It becomes a revolving cycle when people are unable to attain a level of self-sufficiency for which they are qualified or if they are working below their skill level. This impacts not only the person in recovery but also the community at large.

Wayside House’s Posner Career Center and the Drug Abuse Foundation (DAF) are collaborating with the Delray Beach Drug Task Force to form a Business Council of employers who will be educated on the benefits of being “recovery friendly.” Local employers are hiring people with substance use disorder, whether in recovery or not, even if they are not aware of it. Participation on the Business Council will be mutually beneficial to the employee and the employer.

A good example is the Delray Beach hospitality trade and call center jobs which are held by a high percentage of those in recovery or struggling with substance use disorder. The Posner Career Center would provide a resource to help ensure employee retention, conflict resolution, employee productivity, personal development and random drug testing for their employees. The Center will work with all employers on this Council to ensure that anyone who is hired by them from the Center will be monitored, tested and, most of all, coached on how to stay gainfully employed and be happy while doing it. This creates a win-win scenario for the employer, the employee and subsequently the community.

“Those in sobriety can be bright, entrepreneurial, skilled workers and executives, who are educated, passionate, and hard working, and are trying to build a support system to re-enter their communities as productive members,” states Suzanne Spencer, Executive Director of the Delray Beach Drug Task Force.

Initially, the Tina Posner Center for Career Excellence will be open to Wayside House’s current clients—those in the residential and outpatient programs—and alumnae who may be seeking employment or a switch to another career field.

“Working with Marlies at the Posner Career Center has really been an amazing experience,” said Ann P., one of those helped by the Center. “She is so helpful and informative.  She makes me feel appreciated and accomplished.  She gives me so much insight and knowledge about myself and helps me know exactly what a company is looking for from me.  She is an amazing woman with an amazing talent and passion for her job and women in general.  I am so grateful to be able to work with her at the Posner Career Center and to continue our relationship in the future.”

About Wayside House

Wayside House is a 40-year-old addiction treatment program in Delray Beach for women with drug or alcohol addictions and related disorders. It offers both a 28-bed residential facility with a homelike setting, as well as Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient services. The mission of Wayside House is to be a healing environment to help women who have alcohol and drug dependence, by providing them tools needed to rebuild their lives, reconnect with loved ones and recover from active addition. For more information visit www.waysidehouse.net.

About the Tina Posner Center for Career Excellence

The Tina Posner Center for Career Excellence features computers so women can perform job searches; seminars and workshops on topics such as resume writing, networking through social media and in person; filling out online applications; appropriate attire for an interview; interviewing techniques; continuing education resources; and financial responsibility—teaching the clients how to make the most of their paychecks. Women seeking assistance through the Center will also be given nationally accredited aptitude and skill tests to determine what jobs will be the best fit for their skills. Additionally, Wayside House has forged a partnership with Dress for Success so job seekers can select job-appropriate attire. The Posner Career Center will work with the employee once hired to maintain employment.

About Delray Beach Drug Task Force

The mission of the Delray Beach Drug Task Force is to provide Community Leadership and Education in the campaign against substance abuse by maintaining a network and forum to discuss, advocate, and influence issues with regards to Public Safety, Prevention and Rehabilitation.