County SealMarch 27, 2019 -- Westchester County has received a grant from the New York State Department of Labor to assist local communities that have been affected by the opioid epidemic. The grant money, which totals $346,205, was allocated to Westchester to help train the employees who treat those battling addiction and substance abuse.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “No community is immune to the opioid crisis, and unfortunately there is a shortage of people who are trained to treat these individuals in Westchester. This funding, which is awarded to our Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board, will provide training and employment services to our workforce so we can better serve the communities that are struggling”.

Executive Director of the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board Thom Kleiner said: “This grant will allow us to employ our residents who are eager to find or return to work while at the same time providing the necessary training to help those who are affected by the crisis that is affecting our community and state”.

A number of Westchester County departments and community partners will work in tandem to provide management, training and leadership for those who will eventually treat victims of substance abuse, including: Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board, Westchester County Departments of Social Services and Community Mental Health, Westchester Career Centers, Westmed Medical Group, the National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependence of Westchester, Westchester Community College and WestCOP.

Commissioner of the Department of Community Mental Health Michael Orth said: “Quality services and staffing are a cornerstone of building a system of recovery. The ability to train new employees with cutting edge skills, especially those who will serve as peers, coaches and frontline treatment personnel is crucial, and these new funds will help us build a better system of care.”

Commissioner of the Department of Social Services Kevin McGuire said: “This grant fills a real need. Opioid addiction has been growing in Westchester County, particularly in communities that have seemed to have previously been immune from the scourge of addiction. This grant will allow us to train people to deal with this increase of those suffering from addiction.”

Participants will be required to attend a four-week “boot camp” of employment training that covers job skills, resume development, interviewing, self-esteem building and job showering. Following the boot camp, specialized employment and training activities will prepare participants for one of the following jobs: Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist, Mental Health Technician, Behavioral Health Recovery Coach, Paramedic and Credential Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor.

The Program is intended to serve all the communities in Westchester County, with a primary focus on the cities of Peekskill, Mount Vernon and New Rochelle.