Mahoning County Receives $20,000 Grant to Encourage a Drug-Free Workforce

Nov 10, 2016
The Regional Chamber and Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board are pleased to announce that Mahoning County is the recipient of a $20,000 grant, awarded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services through its Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative (DFWCI).
The Regional Chamber and Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board are pleased to announce that Mahoning County is the recipient of a $20,000 grant, awarded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services through its Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative (DFWCI).

Mahoning County is one of 18 counties in the state that was chosen to receive a portion of the $360,000 distributed by the Department of Mental and Addiction Services; the counties will also have access to the services of Working Partners©, a consulting and training firm with nearly 30 years of experience, to develop a community plan that works for employers and employees to address the economic threat of substance abuse.
Duane Piccirilli, executive director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board, said, “This initiative will allow the Board and community partners to assist local employers in finding and retaining healthy and productive employees.”

DFWCI will bring together key stakeholders and employers to assess local challenges and resources and implement strategies to develop a job-ready workforce of drug-free individuals. Employers will be equipped with education, technical assistance and the tools needed to prevent and respond to workplace substance abuse.
The Regional Chamber will assist by hosting and facilitating the business education events.

Nick Santucci, manager of Education & Workforce Development at the Chamber, stated, “Companies in the area continue to struggle to find qualified, capable workers who are drug-free. By receiving a grant like this one, we are able to further emphasize the need for a drug-free workforce. There are 12,075 available jobs in the tri-county area, and we must encourage the potential workforce and public to pass screenings in order to obtain these jobs.”

Brenda Heidinger, associate director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board, added, “The initiative will also give us the opportunity to educate local job-seekers and employers about substance use issues, including safe use of prescription medications, responsible drinking and the rules for medical marijuana in Ohio. Many people do not realize that Ohio Law allows employers to maintain a drug-free workplace by not allowing medical marijuana use by their employees.”
Partners for this program include the Regional Chamber, Mahoning Valley Safety Council, Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, Mahoning County Commissioners, Ohio Means Jobs, Coalition for a Drug Free Mahoning County and leaders among the business community.