Job board specifically for people in recovery goes live

RetroFit Careers went live last month. Now, the creators are trying to find potential employers and applicants.

Job well done: Dan Schmalen and Doug Kiker created RetroFit, a job portal catered specifically for recovered addicts looking to rejoin the workforce. TIMES FILE PHOTO

In January, Dan Schmalen and Doug Kiker decided to team up to create something no one else they know of has ever done to help out people in need.

Ten months later, their creation is live. They launched RetroFitCareers.com, a job portal specific to those in recovery from addiction.

Now, the real work begins.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time, but it’s going to go. It’s too good of an idea not for it to go,” Kiker said.

The site, which launched Sept. 28, had three employers post approximately nine jobs in its first week. One of the employers is Perkins, which on Monday advertised positions for cooks and servers in Drexel Hill and Warminster.

“Not a bad first week,” Schmalen said. But he and Kiker are looking for more employers.

Nine percent of employed workers struggle with a substance use disorder, according to CNN Money in 2012. Longevity in a job is also a factor — NCADD reports that workers who have had three or more jobs in the past five years are twice as likely to be using an illegal drug, or have used one in the past year.

“Chances are, you as a business owner, officer or HR professional, know someone who is currently dealing with active substance abuse disease, are in active rehabilitation, or, have maintained sobriety for years, even decades, successfully,” the website reads. An option for prospective employers to post a job is right on the front page.

For potential employees, it works just like popular job boards like Indeed or ZipRecruiter. Users will create an account and upload their resume to apply. The site includes information on creating a resume and other helpful advice.

RetroFit is in the process of being a nonprofit and attracting businesses and applicants.

“Rebuilding someone’s self-esteem goes a long way in keeping them sober,” Kiker said. “There’s almost nothing else that can rebuild self-esteem more than being able to go to work and support yourself and your family. There’s a much higher chance of them staying in recovery than relapsing.”

When Schmalen and Kiker reentered the workforce after finding recovery themselves, they struggled to find opportunities for their specific situations. They both had the “same idea at the same time” to create a job board that would help out people in the same situation.

They both have experience helping friends in recovery get back on their feet, and wanted to help on a wider scale.

Future endeavors include connecting users with schools, colleges and trade schools. Once users have gotten back into the workforce, they hope to provide them with further opportunity.

“I hear so many people say [addiction] isn’t a disease, it’s a weakness,” Kiker said. “Speaking from experience, I’m not a weak guy. I have a problem with drinking, so I just can never do it again. We’re asking employers to recognize the fact this guy does have a problem, but statistics show, he’s going to be a better employee for you.” ••

Those wanting to learn more about RetroFit should reach out to info@retrofitcareers.org To support the initiative, visit gofundme.com/drug-alcohol-recovery-jobsite