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Pioneering Effort to Help Impaired Workers Gets Expansion

March 01, 2019

A company that broke ground last year by beginning to offer treatment opportunities to job applicants who failed pre-employment drug tests is now expanding its pilot effort to facilities in two additional states.

St. Louis-based Belden, Inc., a leader in developing signal transmission solutions, announced this week that an effort launched a year ago at its manufacturing plant in Richmond, Ind., will now be introduced at its PPC Broadband facility in Syracuse, N.Y., and its West Penn Wire operation in Washington, Pa.

Belden this week released initial numbers showing that 29 individuals have entered its Pathways to Employment program in Indiana so far, with 13 having been able to be placed in machine-operating positions and six in other safety-sensitive roles. The initiative allows job applicants who fail pre-employment drug screens to receive an assessment and follow-up services from one of two community behavioral health providers and then to reapply for employment at Belden.

“By taking an approach that instills hope, combats stigma, and utilizes evidence-based treatment, they have achieved extraordinary success in just one year,” Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Jennifer Walthall, MD, MPH, said of Belden in a Feb. 27 news release from the company.

Belden last year announced the initiation of Pathways to Employment after observing for some time that the opioid crisis was resulting in fewer individuals being able to qualify for employment. Its move was widely considered as groundbreaking in a private sector that has not systematically addressed the effects of opioid addiction on workforce development.

Also as part of this week's announcement, the company stated that its president and CEO has signed a pledge initiated by the CEO of Leidos, stating that the private sector will utilize its collective power to create workplaces where it is safe to have difficult conversations about addiction.

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