Two local residents have a challenge for local businesses like Wawa, Comcast, Aramark and Tastykake, among others.
Hire workers who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
About a year ago, Dan Schmalen and Doug Kiker, the two residents issuing the challenge, decided to create RetroFitCareers.com, a job board created specifically for individuals in recovery from addiction. In their first year, Schmalen and Kiker came together and launched their website, posting job positions from Perkins Restaurants and state representative candidate Mike Doyle.
It’s a start, Schmalen and Kiker said. But for 2019, they hope for more support from local businesses.
“Everybody’s efforts right now is to stem or curb the problem right now with rehab, but this is a way people can sustain their recovery for a lifetime, and that’s just finding a job,” Schmalen said.
After being featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, Schmalen said they went from having “5 Google searches on Saturday” to “452 Google searches” on Sunday after the spot aired.
That exposure is key – the pair hopes to expand the pool of companies offering work to individuals in recovery. To sweeten the deal, RetroFit is offering six months of free job advertising on its site. Using the promo code NY121218 will give employers free postings for any number of jobs for that time period.
“We know we can’t change the world. We can’t solve the problem of drug and alcohol addiction and recovery, but this is a small part,” Schmalen said.
Both Schmalen and Kiker struggled to reenter the workforce after finding recovery themselves. The site came about as a way of helping people facing the same challenge they underwent.
Nine percent of employed workers struggle with a substance use disorder, according to CNN Money in 2012. That means, of the approximately 22 million adults in recovery in the country, about 2 million of that demographic is unemployed, according to RecoveryAnswers.org
The site 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. With the promo code, employers can skip the fee they’ll pay to post on those other job boards.
The site is largely based in the city right now, though they hope to expand nationwide. With their first year done, they have a lofty goal for the next five years: get 5 percent of companies in the country to use RetroFit once.
It’s a long way off, but 2019 will mark the first step of that goal, and Schmalen and Kiker plan to set smaller goals to get there along the way.
“Think about five jobs per state per month,” Kiker said. “We’d have a viable working endeavor at that point in time. When I think of those numbers, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.” ••