The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Connecticut $1.6 million in incremental funding to combat the opioid crisis’ economic blow. 

The Connecticut Department of Labor is responsible for distributing the funds throughout eight communities across the state to support job creation and workforce training services.

New Haven, Hartford, Middlesex, New London, Tolland, Litchfield, Fairfield, and Windham were hit hardest by opioid use, addiction, and overdoses.

The money will be used to create disaster-relief employment and retraining programs in skilled professions that address causes and treatments of the opioid crisis. 

Workforce Impact

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. 

Following that declaration, the Employment and Training Administration began using grants to combat the economic and workforce impacts of the crisis. 

The federal funding from the latest installment from a $4.8 million National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant awarded to the Connecticut DOL in 2019. 

It temporarily expanded the service capacity of dislocated worker programs within states where there were unexpected economic events that caused widespread job loss.

Regional Initiatives

At the time, the state committed to two state and regional initiatives: 

  • Peer Navigators for American Job Center hubs will be hired and trained to help people affected by the opioid crisis as they prepare to find new jobs suited to their recovery efforts. 
  • DOL will provide “recovery friendly workplaces” training for employers to help hire employees who are in recovery and recognize recovery from substance use disorder is a strength.