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Catholic Charities partners with state agencies to address substance abuse

WHEELING — For those recovering from substance use disorder, finding meaningful employment can be challenging.

Through a grant from the Department of Education Jobs & Hope West Virginia, Catholic Charities West Virginia is helping to remove barriers to employment and provide support to those in recovery.

“We know one of the greatest gifts a person can have is a good job. A good job provides stability and hope for the future,” said Beth Zarate, CEO of Catholic Charities West Virginia. “Employment is critically important to our brothers and sisters in recovery.”

The organization has received a $300,000 grant through Jobs & Hope West Virginia, a new program established by Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Legislature. Jobs & Hope West Virginia is a beginning-to-end program that allows an individual to receive free addiction treatment while at the same time receiving free career technical education.

Jobs & Hope West Virginia is the state’s comprehensive response to the substance use disorder crisis, offering support through a statewide collaboration of agencies that provide opportunities for participants to obtain career training and ultimately secure meaningful employment.

Catholic Charities will administer funds to provide assistance to Jobs & Hope West Virginia participants for birth certificates, Social Security cards, state IDs or driver’s licenses, bus passes, utility shut-offs, transcripts and other barriers to employment.

“We are honored to work alongside state agencies and other organizations to provide comprehensive services to those in recovery,” said Sara Lindsay, CCWVa chief program officer. “We support people in meeting career-related goals from a standpoint of dignity, through individually-tailored services.”

Catholic Charities will work with Jobs & Hope participants throughout the state. The organization serves all West Virginia counties, providing programs and services through more than 19 offices. The agency serves all people regardless of faith, family or background.

Assistance through the Jobs & Hope program is not limited to those battling addiction. Any person seeking a pathway to more meaningful employment through job training, obtaining certifications, or other types of education may be eligible.

“A person’s history doesn’t define their potential,” Lindsay said. “Recognizing the resiliency of people in recovery, and the strong skills they gain while working toward sobriety is a solid starting point for career development.”

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