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March 17, 2020

How do the men and women working hard to overcome addiction re-enter the workforce? At Union Mission's Addiction Recovery Program, the men and women undergo a year-long process of healing, teaching and training. Part of the training includes vocational instruction. Union Mission's staff and team of volunteers teach these men and women employable skills as the first step into reentering the workforce. An important part of this process also is having businesses in the area willing to hire those overcoming addiction.

Businesses like CAMC are willing to give them a chance. Anita Ferguson, CAMC employment and workforce development director, and Lauren Lane, senior recruiter at CAMC, explain why CAMC provides the opportunity for the men and women in the addiction recovery program to be employed.

"When we first were introduced to the programs and services offered by Union Mission, we were blown away," Ferguson said. "We saw an immediate opportunity to partner with Union Mission and help these men and women be put in the right positions so they can be reintroduced to society and have the best chance at being successful."

CAMC doesn't offer jobs to just anyone in the program. It takes time to speak with those in the program and explain what jobs are available, what is expected of them and how they can move forward with building a potential career at CAMC.

"Our initial conversation is very practical and very real," Ferguson said. "We understand these individuals have a colorful past, which needs to be addressed. They need to understand our expectations should they decide to apply for a position at CAMC. Our goal is to give them a chance to re-enter the workforce in the right position that doesn't set them up for failure."

"We talk about the opportunities at CAMC, but we also offer them interview tips and we talk about growth potential, which is my favorite part of the discussion," Lane said.

The potential for growth and advancement at CAMC is not inaccessible to men and women in recovery. Should they show the drive and desire to turn this opportunity into a career, CAMC offers educational funding opportunities through the CAMC Foundation allowing employees to be trained in areas from certified nursing assistants to registered nurses.

The attitude of CAMC's Employment and Workforce Development Office is refreshing and inspiring. When asked why CAMC takes the risk of hiring people with an addiction history, Ferguson responded, "Why not? We all have made mistakes in the past. Don't get me wrong, CAMC has a rigorous vetting process, and we realize there are certain positions where people struggling with certain issues should not be placed. We don't want to set anyone up for failure, but we also feel that everyone deserves a chance to prove they can succeed."

"Union Mission could not function without the help of great partners like CAMC," said Kathy McFarland, Union Mission. "We appreciate their desire to help people overcome addiction and be a part of their success stories."

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