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Wendy Welch
May 31, 2019 : Area Workers Attend Training at Ohio Southern
More than 100 of the region’s “helping industries” workforce attended a special training on the campus of Ohio University Southern on Wednesday, May 29. The workshop focused on serving children and families impacted by the opioid crisis in Appalachia. The training, “Impact of the Opioid Epidemic on Children in Rural Appalachia,” was funded by a Rural Business Development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
 
USDA Opioid WorkshopPeople working in the fields of education, mental health, social work, counseling, foster care, addiction recovery, health care, law enforcement, child welfare, and other disciplines from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia attended the workshop. Each of these areas have faced new challenges related to Substance Abuse Disorder and its impact on children and families.
               
“All communities are affected by the opioid epidemic,” said Sarah Diamond Burroway, director of Sothern’s Workforce Success initiative. “This training assists employers in southeast Ohio and surrounding communities with access to special topics they need to be more effective in their work,” she said. “Employers generally don’t have huge training budgets, so that’s why Ohio Southern is pleased to offer this resource to our workforce.”
               
Wendy WelchThe featured presenter, Wendy Welch, Ph.D., author of the book, Fall or Fly: The Strangely Hopeful Story of Foster Care and Adoption in Rural Appalachia,” spoke about the new challenges brought about by Substance Use Disorder in Appalachia. Welch interviewed more than 70 people in rural communities on how opioids and Substance Use Disorder have created new stresses for children in foster care and their families.
               
The workshop also included a session on KRUSH: Kids Rising Up through Support and Healing.  KRUSH co-creators Kristi Whitaker and Jalina Wheeler presented about their program, which started in the Russell McDowell Intermediate School in Flatwoods, Kentucky.  KRUSH serves students whose parents are incarcerated, most due to drug-related charges. Since 2017, the program has been expanded to additional schools in the Russell district. Wheeler and Whitaker are working with other districts in the tristate area interested in expanding the KRUSH model in their schools.
USDA Opioid WorkshopUSDA Opioid Workshop
               
Nicole Pennington, Dean of Ohio Southern and Interim Dean for Regional Higher Education, said the campus is committed to being the area’s source for workforce training. “It is vital to ensure that our helping industries receive continuous professional development as they work together to assist our community as we strive to rebound from the opioid crisis,” Pennington said.
               
USDA Opioid WorkshopThe training series is funded by a Rural Business Development grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.  For more information about Workforce Success at Ohio Southern, contact Sarah Diamond Burroway at 740-533-4