Labor Department announces grant to battle opioid crisis in Florida, Alexander Acosta says this ‘is a serious public health concern’

The U.S. Department of Labor Friday announced the award of an opioid-crisis Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for up to $2,500,000, with $833,333 released initially. This grant funding will address the workforce impacts of the opioid crisis by providing employment services to eligible individuals affected by the health and economic effects of widespread opioid use, addiction, and overdose.

photo/ Andrea

“Opioid abuse devastates families and communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Helping individuals find family-sustaining job opportunities is a critical part of recovery. This Dislocated Worker Grant will help individuals impacted by the opioid crisis remain in and return to the workforce.”

“The opioid crisis is a serious public health concern that requires effective and immediate action to combat this epidemic,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am grateful to Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and the Trump administration for taking the necessary steps to help our workforce deal with the devastating economic impact of substance abuse.”

The project will provide eligible grant participants with disaster-relief employment at community centers for mental health and substance abuse, including positions such as peer recovery specialists, addiction counselors, and behavioral health technicians. The project will also provide employment services to participants seeking careers in healthcare professions related to addiction, treatment, prevention, and pain management. The grant activities will take place in Brevard, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency in October 2017, enabling Florida to request this funding for a DWG project.

Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses.

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