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The Climb

Reintegrate Appalachia: A Workforce Re-Emloyment Initiative

May 2, 2018 12:00:00 PM / by Ascension Recovery Services

Why is it so hard for recovering addicts to adjust to their new lives? For many, it can be because there’s no one within their community who understands what they are going through. They may feel like they are going through this experience alone, especially if they don’t have a job.

Reintegrate Appalachia is here to help. This program takes recovering addicts, gives them jobs and helps them build a community to help them through the journey.

Read on to learn more about this program.



  • West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the United States
  • In 2013, West Virginia providers wrote 110 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (2.08 million prescriptions).
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics & the Business Insider, West Virginia has the second-highest unemployment rate in the United States, as of March 2016.
  • Addiction professionals link joblessness with illegal drug uses such as prescription opioids (Oxycodone, Opana and Percocet).



Reintegrate Appalachia is a workforce re-employment initiative for those in early recovery from substance use disorder (SUD).

Not only does this program reintegrate recovering addicts and alcoholics into the workforce, it also gives these individuals higher education such as trade degrees, professional development services and hands-on experience as well as an extensive addiction recovery monitoring program.

This program utilizes a 33-6-3-Plus work model developed by Coalfield Development, West Virginia Sober Living (WVSL), formerly Morgantown Sober Living (MSL) and Ascension Recovery Services.

WVSL is a peer recovery coaching and transitional living program. Ascension provides clinical monitoring.

The primary goal of Reintegrate Appalachia is to bridge the gap between short-term addiction recovery and long-term addiction recovery by providing stable careers to West Virginians that have been affected by addiction.


The 33-6-3 program will provide meaningful full-time employment (33 hours weekly), ready access to higher education in the community college setting (6 hours weekly), and access to a professional development curriculum (3 hours weekly).

The monitoring program (Plus) provides safe, free six-month transitional living along with a addiction recovery monitoring program implemented by a team of Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) / Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) and Peer Recovery Coaches (PRCs).

Reintegrate Appalachia

Each participant in recovery is assigned a PRC who, in turn, serves as a mentor connecting those in recovery from SUD to local twelve-step recovery programs. The monitoring program also provides consistent and random drug testing.

By successfully bridging the gap between short-term and long-term recovery from SUD, Reintegrate Appalachia will provide critically needed stable employment to West Virginians in the most need.



Peer Recovery Coaches (PRCs) work to connect addicts in early recovery to 12-step recovery programs. PRCs help those in early recovery integrate into the 12-step community, find a sponsor and develop relationships with others in recovery.

PRCs also work to help them adjust to the major changes in their life such as maintaining a budget, building a daily routine, getting health insurance and taking care of their medical and behavioral needs.

Ascension provides the ongoing clinical support to the monitoring program through individual and group therapy.


Coalfield Development, a partner in Reintegrate Appalachia, purchased SustainU to be one of its social enterprises where Reintegrate participants will be able to work.

SustainU is a West Virginia t-shirt printing company that specializes in printing on shirts made from recycled material. Among other defining characteristics, SustainU maintains a contract with Major League Baseball (MLB) enabling them to print all MLB logos and team names.

SustainU will have operations in Wayne, Cabell and Monongalia counties.

Additional employers have been identified in the Morgantown area and plans are in place to extend this program into counties of highest need in the southern part of the state.


The WVSL, Ascension and Coalfield partnership created a one-of-a kind job reintegration program that has the capability to change individual lives and to also re-shape the region.

Connecting recovering addicts to a program that develops a sense of self, teaches job skills and promotes health will lift West Virginians in the greatest need.

This program serves to change the state of the region and to possibly change the paradigm of job reintegration throughout the nation.

Reintegrate Appalachia is also being supported by WVU Health Sciences Center. WVU Health Science Center is providing start-up capital, a grant writing support staff and researchers.


Individuals who are in recovery from SUD, normally, have numerous legal issues and a criminal record that could prevent them from finding gainful employment. These individuals also have a hard time finding employment that can support their recovery efforts.

Without a “trusted entity” to facilitate, connect and manage the interface between those in recovery and the employer, the business owner may not feel comfortable with hiring the person because they would be taking on the management and risk if there happened to be a relapse or managing drug testing or counseling.

Because there has not been a recovery and treatment center that have the capacity to bridge the gap between employer and employee, there can be a high rate of relapse. This is because there is not adequate supervision, monitoring and support.

Reintegrate Appalachia does screen applicants to determine who has SUD that may have had issues with the law versus a violent criminal (who cannot participant in the program.)

Through Reintegrate, there is placement of individuals in our program into recovery-friendly work environments, monitoring of their compliance with recovery measures (meeting attendance, sponsorship, medication compliance, etc.) and provided much needed support of weekly personal and professional development and ongoing counseling as needed.

We believe there is great benefit to having a partnership with employers who understand the needs of individuals in early recovery and are willing to work with us to develop a manageable schedule that has a good work/recovery balance.  


The Reintegrate Appalachia goal is to become a sustainable enterprise.  At this time, outside funding will help propel Reintegrate into sustainability, and give us the ability to help people.

Donations can be made to Reintegrate here

If you’d like to work with Reintegrate Appalachia:

If you work for a treatment center and would like to make referrals, or if you own a business and would like to be an employer with Reintegrate, reach out to (304) 315-4514 for more information.

To learn more about the sober living home program development process, download our guidebook below:


Topics: Addiction Recovery, re-employment initiative

Ascension Recovery Services

Written by Ascension Recovery Services

Ascension Recovery Services is a team of experts and specialists with years of experience working with individuals and organizations aiming to open behavioral health organizations.

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