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Maine’s Newly Launched RFW Certification

Issue 29

In a society that is increasingly recognizing the importance of self-care and wellness, a new trend is gaining momentum—the Recovery-Friendly Workplace. (RFW). Originally launched in 2018 by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, the program is now in place in more than 25 states. In Maine, companies like Kennebunk Savings Bank are redefining workplace cultures by prioritizing employee wellbeing and offering support for those facing and recovering from addiction.

Recently the State of Maine funded a two-year statewide pilot for the Portland Recovery Community Center (PRCC) and Pinetree Institute to support businesses in becoming recognized as RFWs. The vision is that Maine’s businesses will lead the way to champion recovery from substance use disorder as a strength and work intentionally with people in recovery and their families. RFWs encourage a healthy and safe environment where employers, employees, and communities can collaborate to create positive change and eliminate barriers for those impacted by addiction.


The shift toward inclusion

For PRCC and Pinetree Institute, success has never been solely measured in numbers. We understand that the heart of any organization lies within its people and that means acknowledging life’s challenges and building human capital. We recognize that addiction can affect anyone, any family, any community. Recovery is possible and our goal is to build workplace health, safety, and wellness as the cornerstone of workplace culture.


Breaking stigma, fostering authenticity

One of the key objectives of Maine’s RWF initiative is to break down the stigma surrounding addiction. We help employers build environments where both employers and their employees have the tools to create a culture of inclusion for people in recovery, so that they can attract new workers and retain a productive workforce. The initiative will help employers discover that hiring workers in recovery is a great investment. Sometimes, people just need a second chance.


The Core Pillars of RFWs

• Stigma Reduction: Employers are assisted with participating in public awareness and educational events to decrease stigma attached to substance use disorder. Employers have access to a diversity of training modules.

• Cultural Shifts: Reviewing policies to reduce barriers to those impacted by addiction and to help achieve a high level of employee health, safety, and productivity.

• Support Services: Employers are connected to many community, prevention, treatment, and recovery support services including working with Recovery Community Centers.

• Training and Support: Employers receive recovery support resources and training that promote health, wellbeing and recovery for all employees and their families. Training includes the intersection of substance use disorder and traditionally marginalized populations as well as Overdose Recognition and Reversal Protocols.

• Feedback: All companies are given the opportunity to participate in improving and further developing standards for making an impact statewide for people in recovery.


Join us on this path

Businesses that have adopted a RFW model see many benefits:

1. Access to highly skilled talent

2. Increased retention

3. Lower absenteeism

4. Increased brand equity

5. Healthier workforce

To kick off this exciting initiative, we invite all businesses interested in early adoption of the RFW to reach out for training and support. This will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about the program, meet our team of experts, and share your valuable feedback and ideas. All RFW sites are provided with a RFW Toolkit that includes best practices and evidence-based resources to reduce barriers for those impacted by addiction and to help achieve a high level of employee health, safety, and productivity.

PRCC and Pinetree Institute firmly believe that a supportive and inclusive workplace culture is not just a trend, but a fundamental aspect of our identity as a state. RFW initiatives empower workplaces to support employees who are impacted by substance use disorder, helping them create a stronger, healthier, and more productive workforce in the process. Together, we can make a difference and create a workplace where everyone can thrive.

For more information, please contact Mark@Pinetreeinstitute.org

Ali Bland
Ali Bland
Ali Bland, Administrative Coordinator at Portland Recovery Community Center. Ali is a person in long-term recovery.

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