Welcome to the Recovery-to-Work Ecosystem Builders Guide, the go-to place for organizations and regions that are working to connect people who are in recovery to successful careers. Using navigation to the side and below, you will find resources, activities, case studies, and community spotlights to support your efforts.

You might be a local economic developer who sees the connection between the health of your economy and the health of your community members. You might be a workforce development professional who knows that finding jobs for people in recovery requires coordination between a whole host of service providers. You might be a community or behavioral health specialist who wants to help people find jobs but you’re new to working directly with businesses in your community.

Whoever you are, you are not alone in the recovery to work ecosystem in your region. Many other individuals and organizations care deeply about reversing the harmful spiral that addiction poses to individuals, families and employers alike. They know that connecting people in recovery to successful careers is one of the best way to sustain their recovery.

The Challenge: Even when there are individuals and organizations that are focused on helping people in recovery get back to work, much of the work in any given community is done in silos.

How This Guide Can Help: Over the past several years, the Development District of Appalachia has been working with regions to break down those silos and to build recovery ecosystems. This Ecosystem Builders Guide captures the lessons learned from that work, including specific tactics, resources, and case studies.

There are some lessons worth mentioning upfront that will be referred to throughout the guide:

  • Every region is unique and may have a different starting point. Use the tools and resources to understand your own region’s strengths and opportunities.
  • Include the recovery perspective at every point along the way. Find opportunities in every phase of your work to get feedback from people in recovery.
  • Ground your work in local employer input about what they are looking for in successful employees. If you have a strong employer champion, include them in the work from the beginning. If you don’t have any input on regional job needs, you can use some of the Phase 3 resources such as examples of business surveys and business roundtable agendas to learn about local business needs before starting the step-by-step process of the guide.

How to Use the Guide: The guide is designed to walk a community through a self-driven process to start or expand regional ecosystem work. There are five phases with practical resources, activities, case studies, and community spotlights. Using the navigation to the side or below, communities can choose their own adventure: starting at the beginning and moving through each phase sequentially or jumping directly to a “just in time” resource or case study.

You may start using this guide as an individual organization, but by following the steps below, you can build a team in your region around a shared vision for recovery.

Phase 1: Defining Community Recovery and Finding the Right Partners

What is a recovery to work ecosystem? What kinds of organizations and people lead recovery to work ecosystem efforts? What is your role in a recovery to work ecosystem?

    Think Big about the Recovery to Work Ecosystem Approach

    Set Your Vision for a Successful Regional Ecosystem

    Identify a Leadership Team with Organizations that are Critical to a Successful Ecosystem

Phase 2: Getting Organized as Recovery Champions

What is the region’s shared vision for a successful recovery to work ecosystem? What are the challenges that stand in the way of that success? What are the opportunities to work together to achieve that success?

    Recruit and Convene Partners in a Regional Working Session

    Use the Recovery to Work Ecosystem Assessment to Shape Shared Vision and Identify Opportunities

    Decide on Structure for Roles and Relationships of Recovery to Work Partners

Phase 3: Making Matches: Preparing People and Companies for Recovery-Friendly Careers

How can you find and support businesses that are champions for recovery in your region? This phase includes Employer FAQs about Hiring and Supporting People in Recovery.

    Identify the People in Recovery Who are Ready to Work and Connect Them with Targeted Training 

    Build a Targeted List of Employers

    Work with Employers to Hire People in Recovery

    Connect Employers to Targeted Resources and Programs

Phase 4: After the Match: Supporting People and Companies for the Long Haul

How can your region seamlessly connect people in recovery to the wraparound services needed for them to succeed in the workplace?

    Identify Gaps in Wraparound Services in your Region

    Improve Connections to Wraparound Services

Phase 5: Finding Pathways to Sustainability

How can you identify resources to support a robust and sustainable ecosystem in your region that isn’t dependent on one organization or one funding stream?

    Approach Recovery-to-Work Ecosystem Building as a Vocation

    Addressing Stigma and Building Your Case

    Identify Opportunities for Program Development and Expansion