February 3, 2017 | Organizational Highlights
Organization Highlight: Recovery Through Entrepreneurship
Recovery through Entrepreneurship (RTE) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 by Dr. Harry Wexler and Dr. Gerald Melnick, with the belief that beyond abstinence or sobriety, long-term recovery requires a general positive engagement with the workforce and wider society.
RTE works to integrate vocational training into the treatment of substance use disorders by providing employment opportunities for individuals in recovery, through a hands-on approach consisting of: group activities to facilitate peer-to-peer support, and group projects that teach computer literacy, networking, problem-solving, group cooperation, and esteem building.
“Recovery means a great deal more than simple abstinence. The challenge is to inspire and foster maximum growth in clients and help launch them into meaningful careers.” – Founder, Dr. Harry Wexler
The entrepreneurial framework of RTE supports efforts to open economic opportunities that go beyond typical low-level employment, using an approach consistent with strengths-based recovery and individual resiliency. RTE has separate models for integrating its services into residential and outpatient settings that range from 14-week inpatient courses to 4-week outpatient programs that meet once a week. Outpatient courses focus on teaching the digital, financial, networking and business building skills needed to help clients find meaningful employment, advance their careers, and/or start businesses of their own. Inpatient courses include and expand upon these objectives to include community development skills and advocacy projects.
Historically, entrepreneurship has been recognized as a viable pathway to facilitate economic integration in marginalized individuals and groups. Unfortunately, many substance use disorder treatment programs do not yet include components to enhance meaningful employment, and the availability of employment opportunities for those in recovery is often limited due to the stigmatized nature of substance use disorders.
The policy work of RTE has focused on non-profits as a fertile opportunity to develop employment pathways, where job growth among the 1.44 million registered nonprofits has been outpacing other sectors of the economy, and where entry-level jobs, such as community outreach and administrative assistance, are well within reach of RTE students.
“Seek and complete a sufficient course of treatment, but don’t settle for just being drug free. Strive to build a meaningful life and develop a strong career for a successful life.” – Founder, Dr. Jerry Melnick