The Pennsylvania Senate will consider a bill proposed by a Johnstown-area lawmaker aimed at connecting businesses struggling to fill empty positions with a pool of people who often struggle to find work – former drug users.

State Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Richland Township, proposed the “Recovery to Work Pilot Program” bill last year, saying the project will partner drug recovery agencies and workforce development boards in hard-hit counties to collectively fill job vacancies.

The Senate’s labor and industry committee reviewed the plan and voted to forward it to the Senate for full consideration.

As proposed, workforce development boards in seven areas across the state would test the program – and priority would be given to areas in the highest 25 percentile of overdose deaths per-100,000 people.

The boards would then work with the local treatment and recovery community, employers and training providers to find jobs that are available and recovering individuals who’d be suitable for that work.

“Meaningful employment is essential to an individual’s long-term recovery as it provides a renewed sense of purpose and will help make for a healthier and more prosperous community, take individuals off government assistance and into contributing taxpaying members of society,” Langerholc said.

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