ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Larry Hogan announced Friday that Maryland is one of four states to be selected to participate in a new initiative to provide job training and other services to workers in communities significantly affected by the opioid crisis.

The pilot program, “Support to Communities: Fostering Opioid Recovery through Workforce Development” sees the state receive $4.6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. The goal of the program is to address the health and economic impacts of widespread substance and opioid misuse, addiction and overdose.

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“During Maryland’s response to COVID-19, our administration has remained committed to combating the opioid and substance abuse crisis, which has affected far too many families and taken far too many lives across our state and our nation,” said Governor Hogan in a statement. “This funding is another powerful tool we can use to support Marylanders in the communities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. I had the chance to thank Secretary Scalia and discuss Maryland’s role in advancing this new national initiative.”

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The Maryland Department of Labor is set to direct the funds to seven Local Workforce Areas, representing 14 jurisdictions across the state that have seen negative social and economic impacts due to the opioid crisis. The expectation is that over 700 Marylanders will participate in the new program which is expected to provide job training and recovery services.

“Our department is very thankful to receive this funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, so we can continue to help Marylanders acquire the skills, tools, and support they need to overcome workforce challenges related to opioid and substance abuse,” said Secretary Tiffany Robinson of the Maryland Department of Labor in a statement. “This funding could not have come at a more critical time and will give those impacted by the opioid epidemic hope for a better tomorrow.”

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The 14 jurisdictions that will receive funds include Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Kent, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, and Washington counties and Baltimore City.

CBS Baltimore Staff