A state-funded initiative will provide help and support to individuals as well as family members who have been affected by the opioid crisis and need employment assistance.

The “Pathways to Success” program is available to Ocean County residents through December 2020.

The Mental Health Association of Ocean County is providing the service in cooperation with multiple, partnering agencies.

“Many people might expect that a program like this is strictly for individuals in recovery.  But that’s partly what is really unique and great about this.  Family members are eligible for help, too.  People who lost work as a result of stress and helping a loved one are included,” Racheal O’Dea, Executive Director at the Mental Health Association – Ocean County, said.

O’Dea explained that employment is the focus of this program because holding a job is an important phase in long-term recovery for individuals and their loved ones.

Individuals in the program will be offered are one-on-one case management for employment, job coaching/mentoring, assistance with expungement and applications as well as resume and cover letter writing.

O'Dea says funding is available on a case-by-case basis for training, text exams, bus passes, short-term childcare, clothing and other types of reimbursements.

High demand jobs in the areas of customer service and sales have been approved for credentialing through the program and Continuing Education Units, or CEUs, are also being made available.

“This provides more flexibility than traditional employment services because each individual can choose what services would be most helpful,” O’Dea said.  “By comparison, other programs may cost money or have requirements.”

Individuals in recovery who participate in “Pathways to Success” will be offered non-clinical supports for mental and physical health as well.

O’Dea said that family members also have the option to meet with specially trained, experienced staff who can provide case management and offer strategies for stress management and coping skills.

If needed, participants may be referred for clinical services.

O'Dea stresses the importance of the mental health component as families and individuals in recovery have experienced a crisis as a result of the substance abuse disorder.

The grant is expected to cover 100 residents.

“Pathways to Success” is grant-funded through Ocean County Human Services.

This program is also a governor’s initiative which is provided by the New Jersey Departments of Labor and Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Ocean County residents who are interested in “Pathways to Success” can call 848-480-0913 or eiovine@mhanj.org.

The Mental Health Association – Ocean County is located at 25 S. Shore Drive, Toms River.

Walk-in hours are Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and evening hours are available by appointment.

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