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DV8 Kitchen SoulFull Enterprise Event will teach other Ky. businesses how to help those in recovery

By Nadia Ramlagan
Public News Service

DV8 Kitchen, a restaurant and bakery focused on hiring and training people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, is now teaching other Kentucky businesses how to do the same.

The two-day SoulFull Enterprise Event begins Tuesday in Lexington. Owner Rob Perez says he hopes to lessen the stigma for other business leaders about the idea of hiring “second-chance” employees in their communities, and show the potential benefits as well.

One Kentucky restaurant that hires people in recovery from addiction is sharing its model with other businesses. (Photo from DV8 Kitchen/Facebook)

“And we realized that what we really probably need to work on is convincing the general public and every business to hire one person that’s in second-chance employment position, because there’s a demand problem,” says Perez. “We kind of need to work on the demand, and change the way people think about hiring people that are in recovery.”

Research indicates people in recovery face many barriers to employment, and that inability to get a job is a major factor leading to relapse.

A 2018 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found labor-force participation by men ages 25 to 54 was nearly 5% less on average in counties with high rates of opioid prescribing than in those with lower rates.

Perez points out that, while it’s rewarding to hire someone in the early stages of recovery, there are currently no procedures, guidelines or resources for employers.

“What we still don’t have is a nomenclature of what questions to ask to verify that people are in recovery versus active addiction,” says Perez. “We as a business community need to work on that.”

Last year, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery through Effective Employment and Reentry (CAREER) Act, which aims to help people in recovery living in states hit hard by the opioid epidemic find and maintain employment.

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