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Finding reasonable employment in the current job market is tough enough for anyone, but when you’re in recovery and your history of addiction creates some awkward gaps on your resume  – finding a job and getting on with life can seem impossible.

Fortunately, there are government programs and non-profit organizations that exist to help get those that want to work – back on their feet.

Struggling to find a job? Get in contact with the following services:

The Department of Labor’s One Stop Career Center – The Department of Labor urges those in recovery and looking for work to get into contact with their nationwide network of career centers, by visiting their service locator. They also recommend getting in contact with staff at local treatment centers or recovery support groups for possible access to local work programs.

America in Recovery – This is a non-profit organization that will link employers looking for labor and willing to hire those in recovery with appropriate job seekers in their area. This is a free service for both employers and job seekers. The organization encourages employers to hire recovering drug addicts and alcoholics by saying that those in recovery tend to be grateful for the opportunity and as a result work harder and with a better attitude, stay longer and accept less money to start than a comparable non-recovery candidate - America in Recovery.

The National Hire NetworkThe HIRE Network aims to assist people with criminal records find employment. There is a comprehensive state by state directory of local employment  programs that, although set up to assist those with criminal records reintegrate, may also be helpful to those in recovery.

Other Tips:

  • Volunteer – If paid work eludes you, spend at least some of your time volunteering. Try to find volunteer work that you are passionate about doing and which provides job skills and experience that will look great on a resume.
  • Upgrade Your Training – If you aren’t qualified for the job you want – then get qualified by upgrading your education or training. If dollars are tight, look for job training programs offered at your local employment center.
  • Become an Entrepreneur - If no one else will give you a job then hire yourself by creating your own small business. You don’t necessarily need thousands of dollars to get started either… think dog walker, handyman, baby sitter, lawn mower etc.
  • Offer Your Services Over the Internet – If you can write, design, program, have fine art or photographic or video skills (among many other services) you can find your work online. Since you’ll be working in a freelance capacity, your personal history will mean nothing to a prospective client – do good work and you’ll earn a decent living.
  • Consider Internship Programs – Know where you’d like to work or what you’d like to do? Then contact them and ask if they accept interns. The idea of free labor can be pretty tempting to an employer and once on ‘the job’ you’ve got an inside track to future paid employment.
  • Sign Up with a Temp Agency – Employers seeking temporary labor may not care as much about the background of prospective workers. Register with your local temp agency and be ready to try just about anything they can throw at you – after all , any kind of work will get you out of the house and earning and any recent positive work experience can be invaluable in rounding out some of the gaps on a resume.
  • Sign Up to Become an Apprentice – The Dept of Labor runs an apprentice program that matches people looking to train for a trade with over 25 000 employers ready to offer training and labor to those willing to apprentice. At present, more than a quarter of a million Americans are apprenticing for trades such as chef, pipefitter, dental assistant, electrician, carpenter, child development specialist, construction craftsman and many others. People in apprentice programs earn a wage while training and the average wage for someone who has completed an apprentice program is just under $50 000. Apprentice programs run between 1 and 6 years in length, with an average duration of 4 years.
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Page last updated Jun 20, 2013

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External Links
H.I.R.E. Resources and Assistance State-locator for governmental agencies and community-based organizations that provide job-related and legal services, answer questions arising from having a criminal record, or offer referrals to other useful organizations.
Recovery at Work Provides supportive workplaces for people in recovery.
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