DuPage County's RAMP-UP Program Helps Recovering Addicts Find Manufacturing Jobs

Craig Dellimore
April 26, 2019 - 12:14 pm
Aaron Maley and Greg Hart, DuPage County's RAMP-UP program

WBBM Newsradio/Craig Dellimore

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- DuPage County is working with some local manufacturers to help people recovering from opioid addictions find meaningful work. And all involved said it is working.

DuPage County board member Greg Hart, spearheading the effort, said people are more likely to overcome substance abuse problems if they are employed; but some have trouble finding jobs because their records.

"There is already vacancies in a lot of our employers that are focusing on manufacturing. So one of the great things is it is kind of a symbiotic relationship," he said.

The pilot program called RAMP-UP connects participants with manufacturing companies, like Diamond Envelope in Aurora.

"It's helping not only people who are not only suffering from substance abuse disorder get access to jobs, but it is also helping the employers because they are accessing a brand new talent pool, who have not been touched before," Hart said.

Aaron Maley and Greg Hart, DuPage County's RAMP-UP program
WBBM Newsradio/Craig Dellimore

The program is how Aaron Maley and Diamond Envelope found each other. Maley is one of the first graduates of the program. He earned a job at Diamond Envelope in Aurora after battling addiction, homelessness, and a criminal record.

"I did not want to live that type of life. That is not what I wanted for myself. And that's pretty much what drives me," Maley said. "I still carry my homeless ID in my wallet to this date to remind me of how close that is."

Maley is a few weeks into the job and his employers are clearly impressed with his drive.