Kentucky Chamber Foundation Launches Fair Chance Academy to Bridge Gap Between Employers and Individuals in Recovery from Substance Use Disorders

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With National Second Chance Month underway, the Kentucky Chamber Foundation is continuing to address the state’s substance use disorder crisis and help Kentuckians in recovery re-enter the workforce. As part of these efforts, the Chamber Foundation’s Workforce Recovery Program is launching its inaugural Fair Chance Academy this spring. Employers can apply now and applications will close on Friday, April 15, 2022, with programming to start in May.

This initiative is the first of its kind in the state and will provide businesses and employers with valuable training, information, and resources to foster transformational employment opportunities for individuals in recovery from substance use disorders who are ready to re-enter the workforce.

“Employment is a critical component of long-term recovery, and the business community has an important role to play in helping individuals return to the workforce and reducing stigma around recovery in the workplace,” said Morgan Kirk, Director of the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Workforce Recovery Program. “We’re excited to begin offering this training to help employers transform lives, and we encourage businesses of all sizes and across all industries to apply.”

The Kentucky Chamber Foundation will select 15 companies for the inaugural cohort. Three, full-day training workshops will be held at the Kentucky Chamber Headquarters in Frankfort on May 11, May 25 and June 8. Participants will then take what they have learned from the program and spend the next three months implementing actionable steps within their businesses to become fair chance employers. Employers will also have the opportunity to participate in a discussion with Sam Quinones, author of “The Least of Us,” who has been nationally recognized for his writings on the opioid crisis.

“We see a real opportunity to make a positive impact across Kentucky through the Fair Chance Academy,” said Van Ingram, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. “More than 1,900 Kentuckians died from drug overdoses in 2020. That’s a 49% increase from 2019. Certifying employers as ‘fair chance’ can provide stable employment for someone, which is a critical component of long-term recovery. This can provide Kentuckians with the purpose and motivation they might need to stay in remission and get their lives back.”

“Substance use impacts so many aspects of a person’s life, including employment. We in the business community want to be part of the solution. Participating in the Fair Chance Academy gives businesses the knowledge, tools, and resources to be that solution,” said Patrick Bryant, Recruitment Manager at AppHarvest.

The Fair Chance Academy is part of the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Transformational Employment Program, which launched last year and provides a pathway for employers to help more Kentuckians reach long-term recovery from substance use disorders while supporting fair chance employment. To date, 55 Kentucky employers are signed up, which impacts more than 11,000 employees.

Please apply now to be a part of the Academy’s inaugural cohort. As a reminder, applications will close on Friday, April 15, 2022.

To learn more about the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s efforts and initiatives to address the substance use disorder crisis, visit

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Jacqueline Pitts
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