Jackson County may participate in a program to employ individuals affected by the opioid epidemic in West Virginia.

Melissa Somerville of the Human Resource Development Foundation talked to the Jackson County Commission during a meeting last Wednesday, May 30, about a transitional job work experience program available through the National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Demonstration Grant.

Operated through Workforce West Virginia, the grant would employ individuals at a rate of $10 an hour for 35 hours a week, Somerville told the commission.

Often people who have been affected by the opioid epidemic have a hard time finding work, she said.

“When a person comes in we always ask them if they’ve been affected by the opioid crisis. If you haven’t been, you’re very blessed,” Somerville said.

The program could include people in recovery, but also people who have had a family member with an opioid problem, Somerville said.

“We wouldn’t be brining you someone who is currently on drugs,” she said.

The employee would be provided at no cost to the employer; the grant would pay their salary, Somerville said.

“This is going to help people get back into the workforce,” she said.

The commission provided letters of interest in the program on behalf of the Jackson County Fairgrounds and the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

“We’ll come back out once the grants are approved and see what we can help you with,” Somerville told the commission. “It looks like a lot of money is coming down the pipe for West Virginia because of how badly we’ve been affected by the opioid epidemic.”

In other business:

• The commission approved Sarah Swisher as a part-time employee in the sheriff’s tax department.

• Commissioners acknowledged the resignation of Brandon Shamblin as process server for Jackson County effective May 31.

• The commission approved Carl Lucas Roush as a full-time process server.

• The commission approved a part-time employee for the Circuit Clerk’s office.