RCBI to train ex-prisoners affected by opioid crisis

A one-of-a-kind initiative by the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University will provide former female prisoners affected by the opioid crisis new leases on life and a pathway to careers in manufacturing.

RecoveryWorksWV, a free 15-week holistic program based at RCBI’s Huntington Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, will begin classes in April. Participant will receive:

  • Hands-on machinist training in the operation of computer-numerical-controlled (CNC) mills and lathes, coupled with classroom instruction in blueprint reading, mathematics, precision measurement and safety
  • On-the-job experience at area manufacturing facilities that will include an $8-per-hour stipend for their work
  • Peer counseling to support emotional development, especially as it relates to maintaining sobriety or dealing with family and friends struggling with addiction
  • Soft-skills training to advance recovery and prepare trainees for re-entry into the workforce. This will include resume writing, job interview preparation and time-management skills development.

“We believe our multifaceted approach to recovery and re-employment will help these women gain sustainable employment and improve their chances of long-term success,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director and CEO. “State manufacturers tell us they simply cannot find enough machinists to fill open positions. This program provides a means of empowering these women through employment while helping manufacturers meet their critical workforce needs.”

Industry partners around the region have agreed to participate by providing real-world manufacturing experience for the women. RCBI will work with Marshall’s Creative Opportunity for Recovery Employment (CORE) program, Catholic Charities of West Virginia, Region 2 Workforce Investment Board and the employment agency Manpower to identify women who might benefit from the program.

RecoveryWorksWV is supported in part by a grant from the Bernard & Audre Rapoport Foundation, a Texas-based philanthropic organization dedicated to improving the social fabric of life by seeking innovative solutions to intractable and persistent problems.