Skilled trade/addiction recovery group gets OK on renovations for new program

Five Star Heating and Cooling to funnel percentage of profits towards drug rehab program

XENIA TWP — The Emerge Recovery and Trade Initiative is poised to begin long-awaited renovations to its facility aimed at helping those recovering from substance abuse, with plans to make the men’s residential portion operational by the first quarter of next year.

The organization has faced delays in getting their renovation plans approved for the former Greene County Career Center on West Enon Road, after planning to open to clients in the fall. Greene County Building Regulations officials OK’d the renovations last week, and Emerge will start taking bids in the near future.

The delay comes as “skilled trade workers are sorely needed,” in the Miami Valley, Emerge leaders said. Demand for HVAC technicians is expected to increase by 13% in the next several years, with more than 46,000 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Emerge’s model fills two major needs: giving those recovering from substance abuse the tools and knowledge to have a career and a stable income; and giving local plumbing, HVAC, and electrical businesses more ability to hire skilled workers. Those workers are currently in high demand, as many electricians and other trade workers are reaching retirement age.

Founders Kip Morris, CEO of Five Star Heating and Cooling Group; Chris Adams, who owns Narrow Path Plumbing; and Doug Van Dyke, owner of Van Martin Roofing, bought the property in March 2021. Up to 50% of their workforce is comprised of individuals who otherwise would have a hard time getting hired.

“With all the challenges HVAC contractors face as they try to grow and reach an increasing demand, we encourage others to consider this valuable employment practice — and not just because it will help your business grow, but also because (we feel) it’s the right thing to do,” Morris said. “People make mistakes. We’re all human. We believe these people deserve second chances.”

Emerge is developing career training programs for individuals in recovery in plumbing, roofing and HVAC systems. Additionally, clients will have access to individual and group counseling services, apprenticeship opportunities, life skill mentorship, and GED classes. Emerge will offer men’s and women’s recovery housing, and support for young men emancipated out of foster care. The first phase of housing will accommodate 50 men, Emerge previously told the Dayton Daily News, as well as a kitchen, gathering space and other amenities.

Five Star Heating and Cooling group announced to employees Thursday that a portion of their profits will go directly toward funding Emerge. Dozens of employees in long-term recovery were able to tour Emerge, and shared their stories with co-workers, expressing tremendous gratitude for the company and explaining how working there has helped them turn their lives around.

“The most important thing, we feel, is maintaining an ongoing conversation with employees about how to support them in their recovery,” Morris said. “At Five Star, we have weekly accountability meetings. The employees thriving in long-term recovery support those coming on board who are new to recovery. If someone needs outside help, we get them the help they need. Because we know all the pitfalls and the mistakes to avoid, we can also help others to make sure they have the support structures in place to benefit everyone.”

For companies interested in becoming a second-chance employer, Five Star is willing to help outside organizations take those steps to do it right, Morris said.

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