Potential Role of Online Skills Preparation for Employment in Recovery (PROSPER/
Online Skills)

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Project Contact: Kim Wireman, LCSW-C, LCADC, President & CEO of PRC

The low workforce participation of individuals with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a well-established problem and is one of the focus areas of the IRIS grant. A common addressable deficit in these individuals is a lack of “soft skills” – the communication, planning, people, and problem-solving skill development necessary for successful employment, which is often put on hold when actively using substances. Potential Role of Online Skills Preparation for Employment in Recovery (PROSPER/Online Skills) is designed to enhance treatment outcomes of individuals with OUD by facilitating workforce participation, which has been shown to increase treatment retention and recovery success.    

  

Powell Recovery Center (PRC) has been a hub for alcohol and drug treatment within the Baltimore city area since 1994. The interdisciplinary Operation PROSPER (Peer Reintegration and Other Services Promoting Employment in Recovery) team members, led by Dr. Marianne Cloeren, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine and Dr. Jodi Jacobson Frey, Professor in the School of Social Work, have been collaborating since 2019 on research addressing the barriers to employment for individuals with OUD. ej4 is a leading e-learning provider of training videos for employees, delivered in a Learning Management System (LMS) that can be easily customized and includes additional educational materials, knowledge tests, and reports.    

  

We have identified the role of peer specialist as a critical keystone and have developed a plan to systematically study interventions that strengthen this role. Our hypothesis is that interventions that increase the professionalism and employment skills of peer specialists will spread to the clients in recovery whom they serve, leading to more vocational engagement and ultimately employment in this population.  

   

PROSPER/Online Skills will study the feasibility and value of delivering online employment skills education as a more efficient way to both standardize the content of employment readiness training and permit customization, providing needed content based on identified individual needs as identified by the BESI and the PRC educational team.