Program to aid local employers who want to help workers in recovery |

Program to aid local employers who want to help workers in recovery

Eli Pace

The road to recovery can be a difficult path, but a new effort focused on local workplaces is trying to make it a little easier.

An upcoming lunch and learn is set for noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 30, at the Yampa Building at 775 Yampa Ave., and organizers say employers can expect to hear about the economic and cultural benefits of becoming a Recovery Friendly Workplace during the hourlong presentation.

“This is geared toward substance abuse, but truly, we’re all kind of recovering from something, and so I think where it’s going to work well in our community is that it is going to help break down the stigma and help us see each other as people,” said Nele Cashmore, a peer recovery specialist for The Health Partnership, which is leading the local effort.

Cashmore explained that at its core, the Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative is designed to help guide individuals in recovery to the resources they need by educating local employers about resources in the community. In turn, those employers can expect to experience some benefits by hiring and supporting employees in recovery.

According to event organizers, when a business fosters a supportive work environment that encourages its employees’ success in and outside of the workplace, those workers have a higher job satisfaction, are more motivated to succeed and experience improved health and wellness. In turn, the business can also better retain loyal, productive workers.

The lunch will cover the ins and outs of the Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative, while also offering testimonials and discussing what a recovery friendly workplace is. Additionally, The Health Partnership will present figures on the financial impacts substance abuse has had on Colorado employers and go over the five steps to become a recovery friendly workplace.

The perks of becoming a recovery friendly workplace could be widespread too, as The Health Partnership Executive Director Brittney Wilburn explained that employers who join the Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative can expect to see higher employee retention rates and better employee engagement, while also saving some money.

“The cost savings happen by keeping people in work and supporting them,” Wilburn said.

While the initiative is new to Moffat County, the tool kit comes from the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, and the Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative is already working in a handful of other states.

“How I see this working in our community is, No. 1, it’s going to create a language for employers and their staff to recognize the symptoms of what is happening and how to support (their employees),” Wilburn said. “And then we’re hoping that once we do get into organizations, we can be a resource guide for them, so if they have someone (who is dealing with substance abuse) who doesn’t know where to go, doesn’t know where to rehab, doesn’t know where AA meetings are, (we are) providing a resource guide to workplaces so they can help these individuals.”

According to officials at The Health Partnership, they believe there’s an overarching goal to build a statewide program, and the local effort could help expand the Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative across Colorado.

The initiative is being presented by The Health Partnership, in partnership with the Rural Alliance Addressing Substance Used Disorder-Colorado, based out of Memorial Regional Health.

Organizers for the Thursday lunch and learn event ask that people RSVP by emailing

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