Highland Rivers receives grant to support return to work | Local News

Highland Rivers Behavioral Health has received a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to support the entry and reintegration into the workforce of those in recovery. The award is part of a $12 million package under ARC’s Investments Supporting Partnerships In Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) initiative, which addresses the crisis of substance use disorders in the region with investments that strengthen services in community recovery ecosystems.

“Gaining a job not only allows recovering individuals to join or rejoin the workforce, in many cases a job allows them to rejoin their community, be productive and regain their self-esteem,” said Melanie Dallas, Highland Rivers Behavioral Health. CEO. “This grant will allow Highland Rivers to create a network of local employers and other community partners who support recovery and want to help individuals maintain their recovery through meaningful employment.”

The three-year grant will target individuals and employers in Haralson, Murray, Polk and Whitfield counties – all considered Appalachian counties by the CRA – and allow Highland Rivers to expand its supported employment programs and awareness, access and recovery (SOAR) SSI/SSDI . The agency will also partner with the Highland Rivers Foundation to expand peer-to-peer workforce development and training. Local partners who have already joined the effort with Highland Rivers include Mohawk Industries, Regions Bank, Morehouse School of Medicine and the Murray, Polk and Whitfield Chambers of Commerce.

“I commend Highland Rivers Behavioral Health for their work supporting recovery ecosystems in Appalachia, Georgia, which is integral to delivering our INSPIRE projects,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Highland Rivers is a major asset in our efforts to address the substance use disorder crisis in the region, and I look forward to seeing how they will help create a strong recovery ecosystem and a strong workforce. work stronger for tomorrow’s opportunities.”

Since INSPIRE’s inception in April 2021, ARC has invested $28.1 million in 83 projects in 289 Appalachian counties. The $12 million program for fiscal year 2022 is expected to improve nearly 450 businesses and prepare nearly 3,000 students and workers for new opportunities in the job market. The new Highland Rivers grant follows a one-year, $50,000 ARC planning grant the agency received last year to begin local work recovery efforts.