Maine has received $6.3 million to help train substance abuse treatment workers and prepare addiction sufferers for the job market.

The two-year award from the U.S. Department of Labor was announced Wednesday by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine.

The opioid abuse epidemic has devastated families across the state, claiming the life of nearly one Mainer per day on average in 2019, the senators said in a news release. Almost $2.1 million from the grant will be released initially.

“This important funding will help address this public health crisis and give Mainers who are struggling with substance use disorders access to the treatment programs they need to overcome addiction and reenter the workforce,” Collins and King said in a joint statement.

The funding is expected to help 683 people who either seek to enter the substance abuse treatment field, or who are in recovery from substance use disorder and want to enter or reenter the workforce, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

Outreach and delivery of employment services at recovery centers, residences, correctional institutions, and health and counseling providers will provided with the funding. Employment and training services will be provided through Maine CareerCenters, Aroostook Community Action Program, Eastern Maine Development Corp., Western Maine Community Action and Workforce Solutions-Goodwill Northern New England.

“We know that many people who are affected by substance use disorder struggle to support themselves and their families financially,” said Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. “The state’s economic plan estimates 6,000 people have faced barriers to rejoining Maine’s workforce due to opioid use – this grant will help those workers obtain the skills necessary to be successful.”

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