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MA ATR CONNECT Newsletter – Winter 2013

Access to Recovery strives to help people on their road to recovery from debilitating drug and alcohol addictions and criminal justice involvement. Offering participants a variety of recovery support services (in addition to traditional substance use treatment or by itself) has shown promise in helping individuals recover and serves as the bedrock of this federal grant program.

This Newsletter’s Theme

One form of support that has proven successful in Massachusetts is specialized employment readiness and job training. We developed a Supportive Employment program for our ATR participants and called it  Career Building Initiative (CBI). This newsletter issue will describe this program and report initial  outcomes.

Research tells us that employment has been positively correlated with retention in treatment and recovery. Along with family support, it is also one of the best predictors of successful substance abuse treatment (CSAT, 2000). The reasons for this are not certain, but the hypothesis is that when someone holds a job, their self-esteem increases, they have a structure to their day that decreases the possibility of relapse, and they have income, which provides stability. The result may be reduced substance use and criminal activity. In addition, having a job is known to have beneficial health effects! (Employment and Women’s Health: Effects of paid employment on women’s mental and physical health. Repetti, Rena L.; Matthews, Karen A.; Waldron, Ingrid; American Psychologist, Vol. 44(11), Nov 1989)

Since obtaining employment shows such a positive impact, we set aside a portion of our federal voucher money for the Career Building Initiative (CBI) program. ATR participants self-selected to get into a variety of training programs in job readiness skills as well as in specific occupational skills such as construction, culinary arts, customer service, and building maintenance. These fields were chosen because they are associated with occupations that tend to be more accepting of individuals with criminal justice histories.

We were quite excited by the success of this new program and are building on it as we augment this program for our 4th year of ATR.

Download a PDF of our Winter 2013 newsletter (Issue 3) for articles including:

  • “CBI Basics”
  • “Elements of Supported Employment”
  • “Occupations Open to those with Criminal Justice Backgrounds”
  • “Program Demographics “
  • “Program Incentives”
  • “CBI Outcomes”