The First Tennessee Development District’s newest program, Caring Workplaces Initiative and its website are now live, www.caringworkplaces.org. The mission of the Caring Workplaces Initiative is to recruit employers who recognize the negative impact that substance use disorders and or mental health issues have played not only in society as a whole, but in their workplaces as well. Becoming a certified Caring Workplace demonstrates an employer’s commitment to their employees and their families overall health and well-being.
When an employer agrees to become a certified Caring Workplace, they become a part of an ecosystem of support with access to resources customized to their specific needs. This includes an additional pipeline of potential employees from the recovery and or justice involved communities who have received navigation services that prepare them for recovery and employment immediately upon release. Employers will be assigned a Caring Workplace Advisor who will guide them throughout the certification process and work alongside leadership within a company, to identify additional customized needs and then match them to resources within their communities. This partnership will result in a more caring and supportive work culture and In turn, the company gains a more healthy and productive workforce.
This new program has been fully staffed to serve the region, led by Lottie Ryans, Director of Workforce & Literacy Initiatives, Kristina Peters, Workforce Coordinator, and Deanna Wood, Workforce Assistant. The staff will be assisted in their work by the Caring Workplaces Learning Cohort, composed of a group of community organizations and leaders who share a common interest in building an ecosystem of support for employers and individuals in recovery from substance abuse and or those who are justice involved. The Learning Cohort takes a collaborative approach towards connecting employers with the necessary resources to promote health and productivity amongst their workforce as well as offer support and recovery services to those with a substance use disorder.
This work is funded by a US Department of Labor WORC grant, and funding will support this effort for a total of three years.