Corporate Social Responsibility

Doing well by doing good: Company addresses hiring issue by offering opioid rehab program

Graduates got jobs in Indiana manufacturing plant; current employees can also participate.

Pathways to Employment - Logo -

Belden Inc., a leader in end-to-end signal transmission solutions, has felt the impact of the opioid crisis in the U.S. directly. In an economy in which skilled manufacturing workers are hard to find, the company found that 10% of prospective employees failed the company’s pre-employment drug screening. While the situation is not unique to Belden, the company’s solution is, earning first place in the “Corporate Social Responsibility” category of Ragan’s 2018 PR Daily Awards.

In February 2018 the company launched “Pathways to Employment,” an 18-month program that provides a personalized drug rehabilitation program to potential employees who have failed the screening at Belden’s Richmond, Indiana facility.

The participant is referred to a treatment provider who assesses the individual’s risk of substance use disorder. Participants voluntarily enter a program tailored to their needs. When the treatment provider determines it’s safe for a participant to return to work, he or she joins Belden in a safety-sensitive role, such as cleaning. After participants have been deemed ready, they can graduate to machine-operating roles.

Belden funds the program with community partners. To raise awareness of the program—which 15 people have completed treatment and joined Belden—the Belden communications team issued press releases, posted an item to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation blog, targeted local media outlets and applied for Corporate Citizenship awards, among other outreach.

The PR effort earned considerable media coverage. A roster of noteworthy individuals have toured to highlight the program, and company leaders have been invited to speak about it. The company’s president and CEO joined other executives at the White House to present the program as an example of how Belden is leaning into the problem of addiction in the community and the workforce.

Congratulations to Leah Tate, Doug Brenneke, Paul Mottershead, Ellen Drazen and Jasmine Spirk.

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