SW Dream Team Leaving Centerstone

LOUSIVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The South Louisville Opioid Task Force is hosting an employment symposium Jan. 29 to educate businesses about how they can benefit from hiring people who are recovering from drug and alcohol abuse.

Carla Christian struggled with substance abuse since she was 15 years old. Alcohol and crack cocaine kept her from keeping a job.

"I thought I was a functional alcoholic," she said. "I thought I was the best there ever was. I thought I was the best addict. I thought I could get out there and work and be to work on time, and it got to the point to where I was drinking every morning, and I couldn't go to work without a drink.”

Christian is now six months sober and grateful for another chance at landing a job. She cleans offices at the Hilliard Lyons building in downtown Louisville through Facilities Management Services.

"It's a great job," Christian said.

The symposium will be held at the Southwest Regional Library from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 29. 

With a low unemployment rate nationwide, business owners can learn about ways to tap in to an "untapped workforce." There are also tax incentives available for businesses who hire felons.

"A lot our friends who are in recovery also have criminal backgrounds, so there are federal and state incentive programs that incentivize hiring people," said Matt LaRocco, a community liason for the Syringe Exchange Program.

"There is also federal bonding that companies can get that will mitigate costs if people steal while they’re on the job, if there's some sort of theft or breakage or anything like that," added Jeremy Byard, a supportive employment specialist at Centerstone.

Businesses should register to attend the symposium in advance. Click here to register.

"People with addictions and people who suffer from alcoholism — we work just as hard as the next person," Christian said. "We're working hard to stay clean, working hard to stay sober, for ourselves, our families and loved ones."

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