Funding Part of U.S. Department of Labor’s National Health Emergency Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grants

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Department of Labor has been awarded up to $5.59 million in federal grants to help provide new skills to workers, including new entrants to the workforce, who have been or are being impacted by the opioid crisis. Additionally, the funds will be used for workforce development in professions that address or prevent problems related to opioids across the state, such as addiction treatment service providers, pain management and therapy service providers, and mental health treatment providers. The initiative complements ongoing efforts by the state Health Department and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse services to train peers in recovery to work with hospitals, assisting individuals with substance use disorder in accessing treatment.

“The opioid epidemic has tragically taken the lives of too many New Yorkers and continues to impact communities all across state,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will allow us to expand programs that not only provide treatment but also support career opportunities for New Yorkers combatting addiction and help finally make the opioid epidemic a thing of the past.”

“Addressing the opioid epidemic requires creative solutions to help New Yorkers on the path to recovery,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today’s announcement in Rochester. “The New York State Department of Labor will utilize this funding to ensure those impacted by the crisis have access to workforce development opportunities. This funding will also train new recovery professionals to meet the growing demand across the state.”

The funding was distributed by the United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration to create employment opportunities and provides employment and training activities, including supportive services, to address economic and workforce impacts related to widespread opioid use, addiction, and overdose. It is estimated the funding will help about 700 individuals, but the cumulative effect of the grants could impact many more people. 

State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “The opioid crisis touches so many communities across New York state but this grant can provide a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to addiction and recovery. These funds will create jobs and help provide essential training and workforce development – confronting the problem from many different angles and leading to real solutions for individuals and families struggling with addiction.”

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has aggressively responded to the opioid epidemic from many angles. This grant takes yet one more approach by helping people affected by opioids not only return to work but be able to utilize their experiences to help others who have been similarly affected. The Department looks forward to collaborating with DOL and OASAS to train peers and link them to hospitals and community-based programs where they can help others access the services they need.”

New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchezsaid, “The adverse impacts of addiction are far-reaching and its devastation can be seen in the lives of individuals, families and communities across our State. This vital funding will help us to increase addiction-related workforce opportunities, provide additional critical resources to combat addiction and help more New Yorkers rebuild their lives and achieve long-term recovery.” 

Eligible participants include:

  • Dislocated workers;
  • Individuals temporarily or permanently laid off because of the opioid crisis;
  • Long-term unemployed individuals; and
  • Self-employed individuals who became unemployed or significantly underemployed because of opioid addiction. 

The New York State Department of Labor will partner with Local Workforce Development Boards and community organizations – groups that work directly with individuals who are, or have been, directly impacted by opioid use – to attack the problem. The LWDBs and organizations represent 21 out of 62 New York State counties and 7 out of 10 regions (Capital District, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Long Island, North County, and the Mohawk Valley). 

Some examples of Training and Career Services include but are not limited to:

  • Training participants to receive the following certifications: Recovery Coach, Peer Recovery Navigator, Chemical Dependency, Life Coach, Mental Health Technician, Basic Life Support, and Paramedic.
  • Placing participants into peer counselor positions to receive peer certification through on-the-job trainings.
  • Providing temporary disaster relief employment for Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselors, Certified Recovery Peer Advocates, Certified Nurse Assistants, Medical Assistants, and Community Outreach Workers.
  • Career Advisors and Recovery Coaches will be hired to provide direct services to grant participants, both at the Career Centers and at partner locations.
  • Mobile Peer Recovery Navigators will be hired to coordinate outpatient care and treatment services and develop employability plans for participants.

Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has instituted an aggressive, multi-pronged approach to addressing the opioid epidemic, and created a nation-leading continuum of addiction care with full prevention, treatment, and recovery services. 


This year the Governor proposed making New York the first state in the nation to aggressively adopt routine screening for substance use disorder utilizing a standardized questionnaire, for all patients in primary care settings and connection to treatment and community services, as appropriate. Trained peers, with personal experience dealing with addiction, will be dispatched to emergency departments throughout the state to work with overdose patients, helping them access appropriate, community-based treatment programs of their choice. The peers will then follow up with patients, to ensure the patients’ treatment needs are continuing to be met. 

In 2016, Governor Cuomo’s Heroin Task Force recommended new, non-traditional services, including recovery centers, youth clubhouses, expanded peer services, and 24/7 open access centers, which provide immediate assessments and referrals to care. These services have since been established in numerous communities around the state, and have helped people in need access care closer to where they live.

The Governor has advanced legislative and regulatory reform to enable to people to get treatment faster by eliminating many insurance restrictions, as well as legislation to reduce most opioid prescriptions from 30 days to seven days, and legislation to increase training and education for prescribers. Governor Cuomo has also taken action to combat patient brokering and fraudulent addiction treatment services.

The Governor has also worked to increase training and availability of naloxone, resulting in more than 300,000 individuals in New York State being trained and equipped with the opioid overdose reversal medication. Through Governor Cuomo’s actions, pharmacies around New York State are now able to provide naloxone without a prescription.

For more information on opioid epidemic resources for providers and individuals, please visit