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Southeast Indiana Celebrates Opioid Workforce Grant Announcement

Justin Hicks/WVPE

Communities in southeast Indiana will receive more than $4.5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to get recovering opioid users back into the workforce. State officials celebrated the announcement at a Honda manufacturing plant Friday. 

At the event, Indiana Drug Czar Jim McClelland called the opioid crisis a “plague” and Fred Payne, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development, noted that in 2018 the state lost nearly $2 billion to the opioid crisis. Both say the grant represents a significant step in solving the workforce issues created by addiction.

Kurt Kegerreis is the executive director of the Region 9 Workforce Board. He says he’s excited that his region will have about $1.5 million to battle the economic effects of opioid addiction, but they still have to figure out exactly how to spend it.

“And specifically, we’re trying to connect employers that really, really need people and people that really, really need and deserve an opportunity at recovery,” he says.

He adds that southeast Indiana residents struggling with addiction should contact their local WorkOne office with questions. 

Contact Justin at or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM

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