DuPage County’s RAMP-UP Program earns statewide award for innovative workforce development solution to combat the opioid crisis

Press Release
Contact Information: Amy Ullo (630) 955-2067

Thursday, September 12, 2019

LISLE, IL – The DuPage County Workforce Development Division/workNet DuPage, is proud to announce it is the recipient of the 2019 Illinois Workforce Partnership (IWP) Innovative Solutions Award for its program titled, “Recovery and Manufacturing a Path Up (RAMP-UP).” The award honors exemplary service to the Illinois workforce system and is given to innovative economic development programs that have resulted in the economic growth of a community or region during the past year.

workNet DuPage Executive Director, Lisa Schvach, received the accolade on behalf of the County at the 2019 IWP Awards ceremony in Springfield, Illinois on Thursday, September 12.

The RAMP-UP initiative takes on the opioid crisis by providing individuals in recovery with in-demand manufacturing job training and employment opportunities. Launched in the fall 2018, RAMP-UP acts as a vital guardrail against relapse. It offers recovering addicts a training program that can lead to job prospects and, in turn, hope for a better future. Matching the needs of the local employer base, participants acquire marketable technical skills through a five-month career program that culminates with the MSSC Certified Production Technician (CPT) credential. The program is at no-cost for eligible individuals and includes job placement assistance.

“We have taken a proactive and comprehensive approach to fighting the opioid crisis in DuPage County. One of the best indicators of sustained success in a drug treatment program is employment. The RAMP-UP Program provides employment opportunities for those in treatment from substance use disorder, while providing a boost in our local economic development efforts,” said DuPage County Board Member and Heroin Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Taskforce Chairman Greg Hart. “I’m proud of the work accomplished by our Workforce Development Division, and I’m even prouder of the program graduates who have worked diligently to provide a better future for themselves and our community.”

Less than a month since graduating the first class in April, all participants were employed in the manufacturing industry. Attendance and dedication to the program was remarkable, despite significant barriers including transportation, and in the case of one student, homelessness. Due to the positive results of the pilot, the program was continued with a second cohort that began in June 2019.

“As workforce development professionals, the only weapons we have at our disposal to battle the opioid epidemic are job training and employment services,” said workNet DuPage Executive Director Lisa Schvach. “While it seems like an unfair fight, we won a small battle with the pilot program, and we hope to see our clients continue to succeed.”

A network of stakeholders lent expertise and resources to make the program a success, including: the DuPage County Health Department, the DuPage County Probation & Court Services, the College of DuPage, DuPage County Community Services, Healthcare Alternative Systems, Serenity House, and JUST of DuPage.

The DuPage County Workforce Development Division/workNet DuPage was selected from 22 workforce innovation boards across the state to receive the IWP Innovative Solutions Award.

###

The Illinois Workforce Partnership (IWP) is a network of 10 Economic Development Regions, 22 Workforce Innovation Boards, and chief local elected officials across the State. The IWP brings together partners at the forefront of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) implementation to advocate for workforce solutions that effectively contribute to the State’s competitiveness and growth. For more information about the IWP awards visit, here.

The DuPage County Workforce Development Division (WDD)/workNet DuPage is funded through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and serves job seekers and businesses in DuPage County. Its mission is to ensure that DuPage County businesses have access to a skilled workforce and job seekers have access to meaningful employment. For more information about  RAMP-UP, visit here.