Governor Chris Sununu joined the The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy on Wednesday announced new resources to support recovery jobs across the country, including a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause.
Sununu Launches ‘ in New HampshireRecovery Friendly Workplace Initiative” in 2018, designed to empower businesses in the state to support people with substance use disorders. From the beginning of the program, 350 Granite State Enterprises are defined as “recovery-friendly jobs”, covering nearly 100,000 employees.
The work done in New Hampshire will continue to expand across the country. Announced Wednesday, Sununu will serve as chairman emeritus of the board of the National Workplace Recovery Institute, which he described as a “nongovernmental, nonpartisan effort” that will be housed at the Foundation for Global Recovery Initiatives.
At the same time,he The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has released new guidance and a call to action: a toolkit for employers and a ready state model law to help create recovery-ready jobs across the country.
“Research tells us that getting and keeping a job is a critical part of any journey to recovery,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Speaking during a press briefing at the White House, Sununu described how his recovery-friendly jobs journey began long before he became governor. While running the Waterville Valley Ski Resort as its CEO, he had employees struggling with addiction. He likened their dismissal for their struggles to “sending them back to the wolves”.
“I realized that the best solution was to be a part of that healthier path for them, to be a part of their recovery,” Sununu said. “It allowed me to keep them as an employee, allowed them to get better. It allowed people to feel more encouraged to stand up and face what they were facing.”
Sununu cited financial savings as a result and a “team-building effort” that ultimately rallied around him.
When he became governor, Sununu decided to implement the model nationwide. As part of a program administered by Granite United Way in partnership with the governor’s office and the state, Recovery Fit Advisors support interested businesses with evidence-based development practicesoperate and support the initiative in their workplaces. The goal is to remove stigma and foster an environment that promotes employee success in recovery.
The model can increase productivity and morale, build community connection and improve communication and support between management and employees, the state says.
Since launching the program in 2018, Sununu encouraged other governors to join him. Rhode Island was the first state to do so.
“One of the most amazing things we found when we created this program, suddenly the number of people seeking treatment skyrocketed in the state,” Sununu said. “For so long, people were working and unable to go to treatment because they were afraid of being seen entering a treatment center by their employer. Now suddenly people were not afraid to go and seek treatment. They were talking to their employers about it.
Gupta called Sununu “a champion among our nation’s governors” when it comes to supporting recovery.
New national resources coming from the Biden-Harris administration — a toolkit for employers and a model state law — aim to help businesses and state and local governments across the country implement the ideals of a recovery-friendly workplace.
The toolkit is housed in the Department of Labor’s Recovery Ready Workplace Resource Center, which was developed to help employers respond more effectively to substance use in the workforce while supporting and hiring people in recovery.
The toolkit notes New Hampshire’s “community of practice” as part of a favorable workplace recovery initiative for states and other entities that wish to adopt New Hampshire’s approach. The community of practice boasts representatives from 35 states and one Canadian province.
The Association for Legislative Analysis and Public Policy, with financial support from Office of National Drug Control Policy, developed a new model of legislation for state governments to support the creation of recovery-ready jobs. As written, the legislation would create a program where employers can be designated as recovery-ready workplaces.