Drug testing program considered a success

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A program aimed at getting drug-free employees out into the workforce is having great success.

It was back in July of 2012, that Governor Earl Ray Tomblin enacted an executive order requiring all those who seek job training through federally funded programs successfully complete a drug test. That decision came after a lot of complaints from state employers who said too many job applicants couldn’t pass a company-required drug test.

State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said the results over the past 15 months have been clear cut, “Folks that can’t pass a drug test don’t try!”

West Virginia was just the second state, in the country, to require the drug tests. Burdette said out of 1,750 applicants to federal job training programs, only 20 have failed the screening. He can’t confirm how many people have come in to apply for the programs and then walked out after they learned about the required test.

He said the requirement is not designed to solve the state’s drug problem.

“It was intended to make sure that the people we were spending tax dollars on could actually compete for a job after they’ve received the training,” explained Burdette.

The screening tests applicants for 10 different illegal substances including marijuana, methamphetamines and synthetic drugs. If you don’t pass the test the first time, you have to wait 90 days to try again. If you don’t pass the second time, you have to wait a year.

Burdette stressed, with the economy struggling, the state can’t afford to spend federal funds on those it won’t benefit.

“When we take taxpayer dollars and invest it in somebody’s training, we want to be sure we can tell the employer who looks at those people for a possible job, these people are ready to go,” stressed Burdette. “They’re drug-free. They are prepared. They are ready to be hired.”

Burdette said a drug-free workforce is a reliable workforce and one employers want to see when they’re looking at locating in an area.

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