Pike County Health Department: Helping Workers Rebuild  

To help formerly incarcerated individuals transition into employment in their communities, the Pike County Health Department, in collaboration with the Pike County Detention Center and Westcare Kentucky Men’s Jail Recovery Program, developed the Re-Establishing and Boosting Inmates Leverage and Development(REBUILD) program.  

With the help of a $485,676 ARC INSPIRE grant, REBUILD will provide workforce transition programs, health services, and carpentry skill-building through woodworking classes. REBUILD will host two six-month programs each supporting 15 individuals in recovery.   

“Knowing the construction industry requires a skilled workforce – a workforce which has been immensely impacted by the substance use disorder issue in Eastern Kentucky – I saw this as an opportunity to combine the construction of beds into a formal curriculum combined with evidence-based and innovative public health programming,” said Pike County Public Health Director Tammy Riley.   

To qualify for REBUILD, individuals must first complete six months of treatment through WestCare, where programming is designed specifically to help incarcerated males address long-term substance use disorders. WestCare plays an essential role in the REBUILD initiative by vetting applicants for the REBUILD interview process following their completion of the program.

REBUILD’s educational services will be facilitated by the Pike County Health Department and will cover topics such as health assessments, life skills, and education designed to bridge gaps to employment. Pike County will also partner with community employment leaders, like Commonwealth Building & Construction Co., Inc., to provide hands-on training and connections to employment opportunities.

Participants of REBUILD will also put their newly acquired woodworking skills to use to give back to their community. At the end of the program, the program will donate 75 twin-size beds to community members in need, including homes with children and veterans.   

Over the next three years, REBUILD is expected to improve 45 students through educational, life skills, and employment supports and serve 15 businesses through collaborative partnerships. Additionally, the program is aiming for a 75 percent job placement rate for its graduates within six months of exiting incarceration and rejoining their communities.