Kentucky is in the process of developing Employer Resource Networks® throughout the Commonwealth. This innovative model to workforce development aims to blend the efforts of business, social service and workforce development agencies to support all employees, but particularly low-wage and entry-level employees, with job retention services, work supports, education, and training.
Kentucky ERN also aims to connect employers with resources and tools to help understand and address issues related to substance use disorder (SUD) and/or opioid use disorder (OUD), particularly supporting Kentuckians in recovery. Kentucky ERN is part of a larger SUD/OUD employment program known as the Strategic Initiative for Transformational Employment (SITE) being implemented by the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program (EKCEP).
The opioid epidemic has had a tremendous impact on the Commonwealth in many areas, including employment. Businesses and employers not only face issues related to substance use in the workplace, but hiring and retaining employees impacted by SUD/OUD. ERNs can be a tool to help employers work through these issues, network with other employers in their communities, and to empower the employer community by providing information, resources, and know-how to overcome barriers to success.