The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced an opioid-crisis National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant for up to $6,281,891 – with $2,093,964 released initially – awarded to the Maine Department of Labor. The grant will support disaster-relief jobs and provide employment services to eligible individuals in Maine communities affected by the health and economic impact of widespread opioid use, addiction and overdose.

This grant will provide eligible participants with disaster-relief employment in peer recovery positions that will assist individuals affected by opioid use with access to recovery resources. The grant will also provide employment and training services to reintegrate eligible individuals back into the workforce. The state anticipates serving approximately 683 grant participants across nine counties.

In October 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency, enabling Maine to request this funding.

Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses.

The Employment and Training Administration administers Federal job training and dislocated worker programs, federal grants to states for public employment service programs, and unemployment insurance benefits. These services are primarily provided through state and local workforce development systems.