Gov. Steve Beshear launched a program Monday to help Kentuckians move from a life of drug abuse and addiction to one of sobriety and productivity.
At a news conference at the George Privett Recovery Center for Men in Lexington, Beshear said the new program — called Rewarding Kentucky — will help connect graduates of Recovery Kentucky programs with jobs.
The state has 15 Recovery Kentucky centers that provide housing and support to clients fighting drug abuse and addiction. They graduate about 600 to 800 people a year.
The Rewarding Kentucky program will help graduates obtain an entry-level, workplace-ready assessment from a local Kentucky Career Center and to secure employment with a participating partner company.
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These graduates are hard-working, committed and grateful to earn a chance to be valuable.
Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear
To get a job, the graduates will have to complete a job interview, Beshear said.
The Democratic governor, who has about three more weeks in office, said employers will find “quality people” to fill their jobs.
Jane Beshear, who has focused on the recovery program, said the Rewarding Kentucky program will not cost the state additional tax dollars.
“We’re talking about using resources already in place and connecting them to accomplish this,” she said. “We know their quality of life will be better.”
Jane Beshear encouraged businesses across the state to participate in the new program.
“These graduates are hard-working, committed and grateful to earn a chance to be valuable,” she said.
David Adkisson, president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said the major concern of businesses is having a viable workforce.
“The job situation will get better before it gets worse,” he said, predicting that businesses across the state will benefit from Rewarding Kentucky.
He also noted that the chamber supports legislation that would allow expungement of some felon records.
Melissa Johnson, a former registered nurse, said she was incarcerated after making “some bad choices” about five years ago, but was able to bounce back by finding a job through Opportunity for Work and Learning in Lexington after graduating from Recovery Kentucky.
She said she knows Rewarding Kentucky will benefit many people who have gone astray.