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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Matt Cartwright (17th District of Pennsylvania)

Honesdale, PA – U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) today announced a federal award of $1,500,000 for Wayne County to fund the development of a substance abuse treatment center at SCI Waymart. The funds are distributed through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative. During the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process, Cartwright fought successfully to fund ARC at $175 million.

Wayne County has proposed to develop underutilized land at the 420-acre State Correctional Institution (SCI)-Waymart property into a multi-discipline treatment, rehabilitation and long-term care hub designed to address key service gaps within Northeastern Pennsylvania and create a recovery-to-work ecosystem. These ARC POWER funds will be used for the construction of the Treatment Facility – Phase 1 of the project. Phase 2 will be the addition of skills-based training, and Phase 3 is job creation through industrial development, housing options and commercial amenities.

“Government and community leaders in Wayne County had a vision to create an innovative recovery-to-work program that provides addiction treatment, housing, and job training. This federal funding brings it one step closer to reality,” said Rep. Cartwright, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “It is a project that has the potential to become a model approach to battling addiction and getting people back into the workforce. I was proud to advocate for its advancement, because those struggling with substance abuse deserve the opportunity to recover, enter the job market and start a new life.”   

“We’re beyond ecstatic we have the financial support of the Appalachian Regional Commission, which will go a long way toward bringing this great project one giant step closer to fruition. When SCI-Waymart faced potential closure a few years ago, community leaders banded together to successfully save the facility. But then we started thinking outside the box to try to ensure the facility and that well-situated property would be viable for decades to come. We came up with a project that has gained the attention and support of federal, state and local leaders and this grant is validation that we have a well-thought-out and worthwhile endeavor that we can all be proud of,” said Wayne County Commissioners Brian Smith, Joseph Adams and Jocelyn Cramer.

“We are thrilled with the ARC POWER grant and sincerely appreciate the guidance we received from the State and Federal ARC offices to achieve this grant award. In 2017, when SCI Waymart was under threat of closure, County partners saw opportunity. With exceptional leadership and support from all levels of government, state and federal agencies, our legislators, County Commissioners and County partners, we are well on our way to the development of a recovery-to-work ecosystem at SCI Waymart. The ARC POWER grant will help with Phase 1 construction of the treatment and rehabilitation facility. Phase 2 will be funded through a recently awarded Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities grant to the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance. This project will fill current service gaps and help thousands of individuals transition through recovery to meaningful employment,” said Mary Beth Wood, Executive Director, Wayne Economic Development Corporation.

Congressman Cartwright announced the U.S. Department of Labor award of $327,497 to the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance for Phase 2 of the SCI-Waymart Project on October 1.

“POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.”

For individuals with drug and alcohol and/or behavioral health service needs, including those who may be exiting the corrections system, Human Services practitioners recommend a comprehensive, long-term approach to treatment and recovery. Such strategies require the integration of traditional therapies with support services, housing options, skills-based training, and job placement to address barriers that often limit recovery and increase recidivism.

This long-term approach to supporting treatment and recovery requires multiple treatment levels with different degrees of agency oversight and controls. These facilities are either nonexistent or in very limited numbers in Wayne County and the surrounding region, which has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, experiencing a record number of overdose deaths and an increased demand for services. The SCI-Waymart project proposes to fill the gaps of services and strengthen the response to the substance use disorder crisis by creating timely service accessibility and availability where it is lacking, which would improve treatment outcomes in multiple ways.

The overall SCI-Waymart Project responds to the reality that traditional workforce training programs are not conducive to supporting individuals in recovery who are seeking to attain and maintain employment. The fluidity and responsiveness contained within a recovery-to-work model lends itself to increased adaptability of the services provided.

The POWER Initiative targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. Funds support efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities by cultivating economic diversity, enhancing job training and re-employment opportunities, creating jobs in existing or new industries, and attracting new sources of investment.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) was established by an act of Congress in 1965 as a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. Its mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in the 13 states of the Appalachian region. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Cartwright fights each fiscal year to maximize its funding and direct those resources to Northeastern Pennsylvania communities.