On March 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced it will award an opioid-crisis Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) to counties in Missouri and Washington state to combat the opioid epidemic. The Missouri Division of Workforce Development and the Washington State Department of Employment Security will receive $4,090,306 and $886,860, respectively, for counties impacted by the health and economic impacts of widespread opioid use, addiction and overdoses.
The DWG will provide employment services to participants seeking careers in health care professions related to addiction, treatment, prevention and pain management, including assisting eligible individuals in securing jobs addressing the impacts of the opioid crisis, including peer recovery specialists at community and recovery treatment centers.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency in October 2017, enabling states to request this funding for a National Health Emergency DWG project. The public health emergency declaration, which remains in effect for 90 days after an initial announcement, has been renewed multiple times since October 2017.
Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses. WIOA is a vital funding source for workforce development that helps states and localities, including counties, tackle and overcome challenges facing jobseekers and employers.