Rural eastern North Carolina has long experienced disproportionate employment gaps in comparison to other areas in the state. Specifically, the unemployment rate within the seven county catchment area consistently rises above the statewide mean. Employment trends for individuals with substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders (SUD/COD) in the catchment area mirror those for the general public. Unfortunately, there exist a large gap in the employment support service availability for individuals with SUD/COD. Project Engage-ENC seeks to fill an essential gap. To address this gap in regional service availability, Engage-ENC seeks to increase the workforce for individuals with SUD/COD through the integration of innovative, evidence-based vocational services within standard SUD/COD treatment. Engage-ENC will serve a total of 337 unduplicated participants over the 5-year project. Services provided through Engage-ENC include coordination with local and state employment and recovery-oriented stakeholders, provision of evidence-based interventions within vocational screening/evaluation, vocational counseling, and supported employment/individual placement support. The mission of Engage-ENC is to provide innovative, community-engaged, and recovery-oriented interventions that assist individuals with SUD/COD to find, get, and keep a job, and sustain a recovery lifestyle.
The goals of Engage-ENC are (a) increase the job readiness of individuals with SUD/COD within the catchment area, (b) decrease the unemployment rate for individuals with SUD/COD within the catchment area, and (c) increase rates of sustained recovery for individuals with SUD/COD within the catchment area. To achieve these goals, the objectives the project will achieve are (a) 85% of participants will complete vocational evaluation activities (i.e., interest, values, aptitude, barriers assessment), (b) 80% of participants will engage in recovery-oriented prevocational training and vocational counseling intervention sessions, (c) 60% of eligible participants will engage in Individual Placement and Support services, (d) Participants will submit an average of 5 job applications, e) Participants will average 3 job interviews, (f) 60% of participants will obtain gainful employment, (g) 45% of participants who obtain gainful employment will retain employment at the 90-day follow-up period; and (h) 65% of participants will demonstrate a reduction of substance use at the 90-day follow up period, (i) 65% of participants will demonstrate improved psychosocial functioning (e.g., obtained housing, reduced criminal activity, report less symptoms of co-occurring mental health issue) at the 90 day follow up period.