From Burlington, Vermont to Dayton, Ohio to Delray Beach, Florida and beyond, America is seeing a rise in recovery-friendly workplaces. Why? Because people deserve a second chance. And because people who are given a second chance can make for great workers.
Recovery-Friendly Workplaces in Burlington
Working Fields is not your average employment staffing outfit. Then again, the people Working Fields hires out are not your average workers either. They're what's known as second chance hires. And the main thing preventing them from righting previous wrongs is gainful employment.
In fact, that's Working Fields' main mission -- to land gainful employment for those who are looking to turn around their lives. Working Fields' site even says so:
We believe "individuals who have made mistakes in their lives, have accepted responsibility and have acted to improve their lives, deserve a second chance," read the outfit's Story. And that "second chance includes a second chance at employment, to return to the workforce, and to build a career."
Working Fields aims to provide a model to individuals in early stage recovery who are having trouble finding a job. Working Fields also "provides a model for companies that would like to be part of the solution."
FoodScience Corporation is among those companies. The Williston, Vermont-based company, which helps people and their pets lead healthier lives, recently addressed the subject in the Burlington Free Press series "Why We Hire." And what FoodScience says could make for a healthier everyone.
"Employers need to be willing to give individuals a second chance," said FoodScience Administrative Operations Manager Gina Walter. "It has been a pleasure connecting with Working Fields, knowing that we are making a difference in our state. Everyone deserves a second chance and in order to have that chance, individuals need a job that pays a livable wage."
Indeed. FoodScience currently employs three Working Fields workers. And as these three transition from temp to permanent, the company's likely to employ even more. More importantly, the courage FoodScience has shown in turning to second chance hires, could well be a model for other Burlington area companies. Just like Working Fields intended.
Recovery-Friendly Workplaces in Dayton
Dayton, Ohio's Daybreak is also intent on creating second chances for people in recovery. Unlike Working Fields though, Daybreak focuses on people age 10-24. The organization also provides shelter for at-risk youth and young adults.
There is one rather striking parallel. Like FoodScience, Daybreak is about people and their pets. Though in Daybreak's case it's more about the pets than the people. But neither seems to be complaining.
That's because Lindy's Bakery gives them nothing to complain about. The dog treat bakery sells garbanzo bean-based gourmet pet snacks. Oh, and in keeping with the times, all Lindy's treats are also grain-free, gluten-free, corn-free and soy-free.
Named for what may or may not be a real life lab and run by the good folks at and from Daybreak, Lindy's gives young people an opportunity to develop the skills they need to get and keep good jobs. Or, as a recent Dayton Daily News piece makes clear, a "dog treat bakery staffed by young people who have faced addiction and mental health disorders shows how employment is crucial to recovery."
That's the conclusion from Governor Mike DeWine’s office anyway. It's also conclusion of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Both groups came to Dayton to check out Daybreak's activities. And both left lauding the non-profit.
Health officials weren't the only ones lauding Lindy's.
"A year and a half ago I was not in the place I am in now," said Lindy's staffer Jay Paxson. "I was homeless. I was living in abandoned houses and I was a full-blown heroin addict. Life was not easy. I had undiagnosed depression and undiagnosed anxiety."
The 24-year-old is now nearly a year in recovery. He's also worked his way up to being a lead employee at the bakery.
"That was amazing to me," he said. "I’ve never been a lead anywhere in my life. Even before I had a drug problem I had trouble keeping jobs."
Paxson not only enjoys coming to work every day, but he takes pride in the added responsibility. Paxson also wants to work toward being a drug and alcohol addiction counselor.
Another booster is Kathy Hooks, Daybreak’s employment initiative director.
"I love bragging on Daybreak," said Hooks. "We have seen how employment is treatment. [Its] created purpose in their lives."
Recovery-Friendly Workplaces in Delray Beach
Recovery Boot Camp is a 100% recovery-friendly workplace. In fact, every single person on staff is a recovered addict and/or alcoholic. We also happen to be located in a recovery-friendly community. And we couldn't count the number of recovery-friendly workplaces in Delray Beach if we wanted to.
We can count on recovery-friendly workplaces being a vital part of long-term recovery. And an extremely vital part at that. Employment not only occupies time and minds, but it also gives people purpose. And few things are more crucial to recovery than purpose. We know. We see it working every day. In every way. That's why we insist our clients secure a job the moment they phase into IOP.
It's also why we wholeheartedly applaud both Working Fields and Daybreak, as well as the good folks at FoodScience and Lindy's. What they're doing isn't simply good business; it's good sense. And it's good for America too. Something we hope others take into consideration when it comes to second chance hires.
If you or someone you love is battling addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, please give us a call. We'd very much like to help.