Jack Walker Published

More Than 500 Residents With Substance Use Disorder Complete Job Training Program

A woman stands at a podium, speaking into a microphone. Behind her, a sign reads "Jobs & Hope." To her side sits Gov. Jim Justice at his desk, with the American and West Virginia flags behind him. His pet bull dog Baby Dog is seated in a chair beside him, yawning. In front of Justice and the speaker are rows of people sitting down, visible only from the back.
Sierra Mullins delivers a graduation speech at Gov. Jim Justice's office Wednesday, celebrating her completion of West Virginia's Jobs & Hope program.
WV Governor's Office

Community members filed into a graduation ceremony unlike any other Wednesday.

It was held in the office of Gov. Jim Justice, celebrating the graduations of Sierra Mullins and Shane McCoy — the 500th graduates of West Virginia’s Jobs & Hope program.

The program provides residents who have substance use disorders access to job training and educational resources, with the goal of helping them secure long-term employment.

Founded in 2019, the program now has 1,619 active participants across the state, and has graduated more than 508 individuals, with even more completing their programs after Mullins and McCoy.

During the ceremony, both graduates had the opportunity to share speeches, expressing gratitude for the program and pride in what they have accomplished.

Originally from Boone County, Mullins said the program provided her much-needed support during a difficult recovery process.

“The road wasn’t always easy. Monthly screenings, basic classes and maintaining sobriety,” she said. “But each hurdle was a small price to pay for the invaluable support and resources provided by the program.”

McCoy said he began his recovery journey in 2019, and soon accessed educational resources through Jobs & Hope that taught him how to operate heavy machinery.

Now, he said he has had steady employment on a construction crew since November.

“The crew that I work with, and the gentlemen that I have met at this place, it has definitely helped my growth in the field,” McCoy said.

After the graduate’s speeches, Justice expressed his gratitude for the program’s success, and his support for participants statewide.

“Lo and behold, we’ve got 508 people, that their lives have changed in every way,” he said. “God bless each and every one of you for the guts that it takes to really get this done.”

For more information on the Jobs & Hope program, visit the program’s website.