SBC Discusses How the Opioid Epidemic Affects Small Businesses
WASHINGTON – Today, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing to explore the effects of the opioid crisis on small businesses. Specifically, Members examined the decline in the labor force participation rate due to the epidemic and the challenges that small businesses experience in finding qualified workers as a result.
“The American economy is soaring. Significant growth is occurring as we speak and Americans, especially entrepreneurs, are once again optimistic about the future of their businesses,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “However, many small businesses are now facing a new challenge in finding, hiring, and retaining qualified workers. Many young working age Americans are not working or actively seeking work as a result of opioid addiction, impeding the ability of businesses to fill important job openings. I look forward to using this conversation to examine potential ways to help small businesses find qualified workers to help grow their business.”
What Experts Say About Combating the Opioid Crisis
“While the health and personal consequences of the opioid crisis are apparent, the increase in opioid dependency is also impacting the broader U.S. economy,” said Ben Gitis, Director of Labor Market Policy at American Action Forum. “The U.S. economy depends on prime-age workers because they are among the most productive workers in the labor force. As federal, state, and local policymakers consider ways to grow the economy, boost the labor supply, and support small businesses, addressing the opioid epidemic must be part of the solution.”
“A significant challenge to Ohio’s current business operations – in both the urban or rural communities – is Ohio’s opioid crisis,” said Katie Van Dyke, Director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center at Cleveland State University. “From small businesses struggling to fill needed positions, to Ohioans unable to fulfill their working potential, opioids are a plague on Ohio’s economy. The Ohio SBDC at Lakeland Community College created a workshop called ‘The Opioid Crisis in the Workplace: The Proactive Role Employers Can Take.’ This Workshop was built to be easily replicable for each SBDC in the different counties to offer and customize with local subject matter experts.”
“Drug addiction knows no bounds. Addicts are our sons, our daughters, our mothers and our fathers,” said Lisa Allen, President & CEO of Ziegenfelder Company in Wheeling, WV. “As a company we work with local counselors, social service agencies, our medical community, law enforcement, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and federal probation officers and state parole officers on a case-by-case basis working to employ and assist recovery and reentry.”Click HERE to read full testimonies and HERE to watch full hearing video.