The drug crisis has had a big impact on the local job market where employers have traditionally rejected any applicant who had a drug conviction in their past. Jason Barlow, President of UAW 402 at Navistar, said the company is gearing up for another round of expansion and has had to adapt to the changing employee landscape, relative to addiction issues. “It has been a large challenge for multiple years. Now that they are looking at a significant amount of hiring again, adding 400 jobs by the end of the year, it has caused the company to evaluate how they do the hiring and recruiting and giving second chances to people too,” Barlow said.
The UAW, said Barlow, has been active in helping employees and their entire families if they need it. “We have an employee assistance representative able to work with the employee, also provide resources for the employee’s spouse, their children and it could be their grandchildren,” Barlow said.
Throughout the hour-long discussion, Cordray asked questions and took notes on innovative ways Springfield community agencies have responded to the opioid crisis through information sharing and coordination of their activities.
Springfield City Commissioner Joyce Chilton said she hoped Medicaid expansion can remain in place. The victims, said Chilton, depend on the coverage as the crisis continues to strike deep into the community. “Family members, friends, everyone knows somebody who has been effected,” Chilton said.