|Delynn Fielding and Ethan Migliori discuss economic issues.|
Members of the Castle Country Business Expansion and Retention program recently met to discuss action steps to enhance the size the local workforce.
The focus centered on a plan for increasing the number of individuals in the labor pool who could pass a pre-employment drug scene as well as assisting residents who are currently employed and facing addiction issues.
The program's action plan was researched and presented to economic development personnel by BEAR director Karl Kraync.
"In evaluating the assigned task, it became clear that an effort is needed to not only increase the eligible available workforce, but also to retain employment individuals who are attempting to deal individually with substance abuse or dependence issues," said Kraync.
According to the BEAR director, local businesses and industries who require entry level and ongoing drug screening report difficulty in recruiting and retaining otherwise qualified individuals who can't pass a drug screen.
The board has concluded that one way to further the mission of the organization is to implement a program designed to increase the eligible pool of job seekers and promote activities that would retain existing employees in the businesses and industries impacted by the model.
The proposal recognizes drug court efforts to assist people who have experienced legal troubles. Therefore, the BEAR team will muster efforts for residents who have not encountered issues with the legal system.
The economic development team hopes to partner with state vocational rehabilitation, workforce services,the local medical association, Castleview Hospital, Four Corners Behavioral Health, public health and relevant business and their insurance companies.
The group considered bringing the following activities under the canopy of treatment:
Local inpatient detoxification; currently, there are not designated impatient hospital beds available locally for medical detoxification of substance abusers, according to Kraync. As a consequence, those individuals requiring the service in question prior to entering a traditional rehabilitation program must seek the service out of the area.
"At times, bed availability is a significant impediment to achieving sobriety," said Kraync. "It should further be noted that many of the individuals seeking the needed services have insurance. The concept of designated detox beds has initially been discussed with the Castle Valley CEO."
According to Kraync, this effort should be expanded to include the Carbon/Emery Medical Association to support Castleview in this endeavor.
"I recently had a client come in for counseling after using up their months script in a week's time and we could not find an available detox bed anywhere in the state," continued Kraync.
Long term treatment; each of the long term treatment facilities in the state would be contacted and agreements reached relevant to accepting referrals from the project.
Local medical support; a presentation defining the goals of the project would be made by the association, additional local physicians would be asked to join in the effort.
"This endeavor would be doomed to failure without the support of the of the Carbon/Emery Medical association," said Kraync.
Financial participation; the proposal makes clear that prior to proposing this project of local business and industry it will be critical to determine if major insurance companies serving the community would be willing to support the rehabilitation of existing employees afflicted with some form of substance abuse.
"Additionally, Four Corners, which controls drug and alcohol funds allocated to this area, must be approached to determine if the organization would be supportive of financially aiding non-insured individuals in need of services," explained Kraync.
Business and industry support; major businesses, governmental entities and smaller industry must be contacted to determine if they would participate in and actively support an amnesty and treatment program for existing employees who wish to address substance abuse issues.
Local attorney and felony drug court staff member Don Torgerson was present at the meeting and shared his insight with the group.
"I recently attended a national drug court training in St. Louis. They demonstrated that one in every 10 individuals is massively addicted to some type of substance," said Torgerson. "However, the drug court approach is seeing real results, 85 percent of participants are clean six years after the program. If we could move the same type of rehabilitation to a non-court atmosphere I believe we would see success."
The group took into consideration the amount of work this type of undertaking would consume. The proposal clearly states that hundreds of hours of service would be required of the participating entities.
"We have to be ready for some real work if we start this," said Carbon Economic Development Directory Delynn Fielding. However, our goal here is to expand and retain local business and I feel this program would aid in that immensely."
Kraync expounded on the same topic.
"This will not only mean a lot of work but we have to be prepared to take some community criticism over this. We are not going to win any popularity contest with this project but that does not mean it is not needed for our continued development," concluded Kraync.