WIOAPL 18-02 (Implementation of Workforce Development Services Under the Trade and Economic Transition National Dislocated Worker Grant (Opioid Transition Grant))
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter No. 18-02
April 1, 2019
TO: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Local Workforce Development Boards Directors, Fiscal Agents, and OhioMeansJobs Center Operators
FROM: Kimberly Hall, Director
SUBJECT: Implementation of Workforce Development Services Under the Trade and Economic Transition National Dislocated Worker Grant (Opioid Transition Grant)


To define participant eligibility, allowable services, and other policy parameters to enable participating local workforce development areas (local areas) to implement and deliver opioid transition grant services.

II.Effective Date



Opioid use disorder and overdose deaths have become the most pressing public health issue and workforce challenge facing Ohio. According to the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, half the businesses surveyed report suffering the consequences of substance abuse in the form of absenteeism, decreased productivity, and worker shortage. The effects of the crisis in Ohio and other states prompted the President to declare an opioid epidemic national health emergency on August 10, 2017.

In response to the emergency, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) applied for and received a discretionary Trade and Economic Transition National Dislocated Worker Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This time-limited opioid transition grant will be used to address long-term worker absences, dislocations, and disruption in skill and labor availability in geographic areas that have suffered the most severe negative impacts of the crisis by providing innovative training and employment services to dislocated workers.

Increasing their skill levels will enable the participants to compete for growing or high-demand employment opportunities, including occupations that help to minimize the effects of the opioid crisis, and move dislocated workers toward in-demand careers. This will increase labor force participation and improve the long-term economic health of the severely impacted geographic areas, thereby reducing substance use disorder through gainful employment.


Authorized county: A county located in a participating local area in which eligible dislocated workers may receive opioid transition grant services, or an Ohio county suffering from the most severe impacts of the opioid crisis (see Attachment A.)

Participating local area: A local area in receipt of opioid transition grant funds.

V.State Requirements

As the state workforce agency and grantee, ODJFS shall: 

  • Submit grant applications, modifications, quarterly reports, and other communications to DOL on behalf of the participating local areas;
  • Assign a project manager to serve as the point-of-contact and coordinator of grant related resources and information;
  • Review and approve operational plans submitted by the participating local areas;
  • Manage grant funds including the determination of sub-award amounts and incremental funding to participating local areas and potential revisions to such awards to address underspending and to ensure maximum investment of the available resources;
  • Form partnerships with other state agencies to implement a comprehensive statewide response to the opioid crisis, such as collaboration with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) to educate employers about substance use and recovery and to encourage establishment of Second Chance policies; and
  • Provide technical assistance to participating local areas and other stakeholders on the terms and conditions of the opioid transition grant.

VI.Local Workforce Development Area Requirements

The opioid transition grant is a national dislocated worker grant issued to participating local areas under the authority of the WIOA subgrant agreement between ODJFS and each local area. Therefore, participating local areas must implement the grant-funded services and activities in accordance with the terms and conditions of the WIOA subgrant agreement, along with the requirements found in this policy letter.

A.Local Area Planning

To receive its full allocation of opioid transition grant funds (other than a nominal start-up grant), a participating local area must submit an operational plan describing the priorities, organizational capability, service design, outcomes, and other details for implementing the opioid transition grant services. The services and activities identified in the operational plan must align with the state combined plan, regional and local WIOA plan, and any economic development strategies and priorities pertaining to the local area. Following ODJFS approval of the operational plan, opioid transition grant funding will be allocated to the local area in increments. After spending or obligating at least 70 percent of the prior increment(s), the local area may email the designated ODJFS project manager to request the next increment.

As changes to the local plan occur, such as the provision of new services not identified in the plan or significant changes in the number of planned participants, local areas must submit to the designated ODJFS project manager a revised operational plan explaining the changes as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after each change.

B.Eligible Participants

Participating local areas shall ensure that individuals served under the opioid transition grant have met all eligibility criteria, including those in 20 C.F.R. § 687.170(a)(1)(i) – (iii), and the policy letter on adult and dislocated worker eligibility. Also, eligible participants must reside in or work in an authorized county or must have been dislocated from an employer located in an authorized county.

The focus of outreach and services should be to: 

  • Dislocated workers who have a history of opioid use, or have a friend or family member with a history of opioid use; and
  • Dislocated workers seeking to enter or transition into professions that could impact the causes and treatment of the opioid crisis (e.g., addiction treatment, mental health, pain management.)

The eligible dislocated workers do not need to be directly impacted by the opioid crisis nor suffering from substance use disorder to qualify for opioid transition grant services and cannot be required to disclose whether they have been impacted by the opioid crisis as a condition of participation. However, to target services to individuals impacted by substance use disorder and to make appropriate referrals, local areas may ask applicants or participants the following optional question:

Your answer to this question is voluntary. Do you, a friend, or any member of your family have a history of opioid use? Please answer “Yes,” or “No.”

Local areas must treat applicant and participant responses to the above question as confidential information, along with any other medical information obtained from applicants or participants or shared by partners, mental health providers, addiction recovery centers, or other organizations pertaining to the individual’s health, disability, or medical conditions. If the above question is presented on a form, it must be separate from the WIOA intake or assessment forms. The confidential information must be: 

  • Used only for determining eligibility and appropriateness for services;
  • Maintained in a separate file apart from the WIOA case file;
  • Locked up or otherwise secured (such as through password protection if maintained in an electronic system); and
  • Restricted from access by unauthorized individuals in accordance with 29 C.F. R. § 38.41(b)(3).

C.Allowable Services and Activities

In planning and implementing services under the opioid transition grant, local areas should consider that the grant is meant to alleviate the devastating effects of the opioid crisis, either directly or indirectly, through: 

  • Economic improvement of the community through skill development, talent enhancement, and re-entry of workers into the labor force;
  • Barrier removal for job seekers, including individuals impacted by the opioid crisis; and
  • Business services that lead to greater opportunities for job seekers with barriers.

Eligible opioid transition grant participants may receive the full array of workforce development services available to WIOA dislocated workers (i.e., career, training, and supportive services.) Because the intent of the transition grant is to mitigate the impact of the opioid crisis by strengthening the local economy and generating employment opportunities, any participants who are eligible and in need of training may receive training services to enable them to enter career fields that provide relief to the opioid crisis (e.g., social worker, counselor, nurse, etc.) or to enter an in-demand occupation.

Career and training services provided under this grant must prepare eligible dislocated workers for employment in high-growth sectors within the local economy. The industry sectors of focus into which investments of grant funding should be prioritized include: advanced and additive manufacturing; transportation; logistics and warehousing; healthcare practitioners; technical and healthcare support (especially related to mental health and addiction services); maintenance and repair including electricity, HVAC, and plumbing; business and administrative professionals; information technology; and other sectors targeted in each participating area’s regional and local four-year WIOA plan.

Grant-funded supportive services such as transportation, child care, and housing assistance; and referrals to mental health, addiction, trauma, and drug-testing specialists may be provided to grant participants in need of such services. Assessments completed by mental health service providers and other partners should be used to customize supportive services to each participant’s needs. Participating local areas should review their policies to ensure that the types of supportive services needed by the population targeted for services under this grant are authorized.

Participants may receive opioid transition grant services before, during, or after receiving treatment for substance use disorder.

The services and activities may be delivered under the local area’s existing policies applicable to dislocated workers, or the local workforce development board (local WDB) may opt to implement new or revised policies specific to the opioid transition grant. Examples of such policy revisions may include: 

  • Extending the length of training or increasing the maximum training funds available to participants who plan to enter occupations that impact the opioid crisis;
  • Permitting funding for transitional jobs to help participants with barriers establish work history, develop workplace skills, and enter or re-enter the workforce; or
  • Expanding the supportive services definition and benefit limits to allow for mental health and addiction treatment and related barrier removal if not covered by Medicaid, private health insurance, or other sources.

In addition to the allowable services for eligible participants, local areas may use opioid transition grant funds for activities meant to impact the crisis on a wider scale, including, but not limited to: 

  • Piloting innovative approaches to combating the opioid problem – for example, by supporting employers that develop second-chance policies or hire individuals in recovery;
  • Using peer recovery specialists in the community to support individuals in recovery during treatment, training, and employment;
  • Building the addiction and substance-abuse treatment, mental health, and pain management workforce through education and training, such as by enabling participant enrollment in the new addiction services apprenticeship being established at Ohio’s two-year colleges; and
  • Facilitating peer learning and sharing of best practices through cross-discipline learning collaboratives across partner agencies.

Up to ten percent of the funds awarded to the local area may be used for administrative costs as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 683.215 that are associated with operating the grant.

D.Unallowable Services and Activities

Opioid transition grant funds may not be used to pay for: 

  • Testing of participants for the use of controlled substances;
  • In-patient treatment for substance use disorder;
  • Incentive payments to participants; or
  • Strategic planning or related activities.

E.Community Partnerships

To address the wide-ranging impacts of the opioid crisis on the labor market, participating local areas must implement an integrated, comprehensive service delivery model by establishing partnerships with other organizations in the community that have expertise in treatment and recovery or that serve individuals who require assistance with employment and training to enter or re-enter the workforce. Examples of such partnerships include, but are not limited to: 

  • Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health (ADAMH) boards to coordinate treatment for individuals with substance use disorder;
  • Rehabilitation facilities and other providers of evidence-based drug and alcohol addiction treatment;
  • Training providers including community colleges who can offer education, credentialing, and licensure in career fields that treat substance use disorder or provide related interventions;
  • Drug courts and the criminal justice system to assist restored citizens with employment solutions to aid their transition back into society;
  • Local libraries that can provide outreach and referral of potentially-eligible individuals; and
  • BWC staff participating in the Safety Grant pilot program which educates employers on managing employees in recovery and adopting recovery-friendly human resource policies.

F.Subrecipients and Contractors

Participating local areas may enter into subrecipient agreements or contracts with public entities, not-for-profit organizations, and private-for-profit entities, including organizations that assist individuals in recovery from substance use disorder. The determination of subrecipient or contractor status must be based on the considerations in 2 C. F. R. § 200.330.

Competitive procurement of a provider that meets the definition of a subrecipient is not required but is recommended when feasible to increase the likelihood of obtaining the highest quality of services at the lowest cost.

Contractors must be competitively selected in accordance with federal, state, and local procurement rules. For-profit contractors and subrecipients may keep the profits earned from performance of grant activities. The amount of profit must be negotiated as a separate element of the overall price of the services with consideration given to the complexity, risk, past performance, and industry profit rates in the surrounding geographical area for similar work. Profits that are excessive or that are not justified using the aforementioned criteria will be disallowed and cannot be paid from grant funds.

VII.Reporting Requirements

Participating local areas must enroll participants served under the opioid transition grant in the special grant office established for this project in the State’s designated workforce case management system. Participants and services must be entered under the special grant office within 30 days. The outcomes of participants in the opioid transition grant will not affect the local area’s WIOA performance measures, unless the local area opts to co-enroll participants in local WIOA formula-funded programs.

Local areas must request cash draws and report expenditures and other financial information using the State’s designated financial reporting system, including the client tracking detail for participant-level direct service costs.

VIII.     Monitoring

Participating local areas that issue subawards must assess the risk of non-compliance of each subrecipient and develop monitoring policies outlining the procedures, frequency, and methods for assuring that grant-funded services carried out by the subrecipient are compliant and for resolving any findings of non-compliance.

Through the state’s monitoring system, ODJFS program and fiscal monitors will review the local area’s implementation of opioid transition grants, including participant file review and verification of actual expenditures, during the onsite monitoring review of the local area for compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and guidance letters including this guidance letter. Any findings will be addressed through the state’s monitoring resolution process.

XI.Technical Assistance

For additional information or to request technical assistance, contact the project manager designated by the ODJFS Office of Workforce Development to oversee implementation of the opioid transition grant. To receive the project manager’s contact information, email WIOAQNA@JFS.OHIO.GOV.


Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act §§ 134 and 170, Pub. L. 113-128.

USDOL, Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 2-18, Trade and Economic Transition National Dislocated Worker Grants, (August 8, 2018).

USDOL, Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 4-18, National Health Emergency Phase Two: Disaster Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grants to Address the Opioid Crisis (September 14, 2018). Note: although certain provisions from TEGL 4-18 were used in this WIOAPL, the dislocated worker grants referenced in this policy are not disaster recovery grants.

2 C. F. R. § 200.330.

20 C.F.R. §§ 683.215 and 687.

29 C.F. R. § 38.41.

ODJFS, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Policy Letter No. 15-02, Adult and Dislocated Worker Eligibility, (July 15, 2015).

Attachment A:  Opioid Transition Grant, Participating Local Workforce Development Areas and Authorized Counties.