Kentucky Chamber Foundation Fair Chance Academy accepting applications for first ever class

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Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 3:41 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - April is National Second Chance Month and Kentucky Chamber Foundation officials said it is a time to address the substance use disorder crisis.

As part of the effort, the Chamber Foundation’s Workforce Recovery Program is launching its first ever Fair Chance Academy this spring. Employers may apply until Friday, April 15, with programming to start in May.

Chamber Foundation officials said the Academy is the first of its kind in the state and will provide businesses and employers with training, information and resources to create transformational employment opportunities for individuals in recovery from substance use disorders.

“Employment is a critical component of long-term recovery, and the business community has an important role to play in helping individuals return to the workforce and reducing stigma around recovery in the workplace,” said Morgan Kirk, Director of the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Workforce Recovery Program. “We’re excited to begin offering this training to help employers transform lives, and we encourage businesses of all sizes and across all industries to apply.”

Program officials will accept 15 companies for the inaugural cohort. Three, full-day training workshops will be at Chamber headquarters in Frankfort on May 11, May 25 and June 8. The following three months will be spent implementing steps within the businesses to become “fair chance” employers.

“We see a real opportunity to make a positive impact across Kentucky through the Fair Chance Academy,” said Van Ingram, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. “More than 1,900 Kentuckians died from drug overdoses in 2020. That’s a 49% increase from 2019. Certifying employers as ‘fair chance’ can provide stable employment for someone, which is a critical component of long-term recovery. This can provide Kentuckians with the purpose and motivation they might need to stay in remission and get their lives back.”

The Fair Chance Academy is part of the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Transformational Employment Program, which launched in 2021 and provides employers help reaching and supporting Kentuckians in long-term recovery from substance use disorders.

An additional aim of the Academy is to get rid of any stigma around hiring workers in active recovery.

”It’s very important to understand that with the Fair Chance Academy we can help businesses look through what that stigma is and understand that they have a real potential to tap into a talent pool that’s previously been missed,” said Kirk.

Chamber officials said 55 Kentucky employers are signed up and will impact more than 11,000 employees.

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