Posted: November 9, 2023

Check out our conversation with Doug Swanson, Associate Extension Professional in Labor and Workforce Development at the University of Missouri Extension, about how the Recovery Friendly Workplace Missouri initiative came to be and what engaging with a controversial and emotional public problem looks like on the ground.

Session Description

When Doug joined MU Extension in 2017, he had an unexpected opportunity to get into the field and listen to people's stories. The Recovery Friendly Workplace Missouri initiative emerged as a response.

How did advocating for workers in recovery, or those in need of going into recovery, become a workforce issue? Is it a workforce issue? In the past, a surplus of available workers hid how stigmas, biases, and barriers prevented full employment for some workers. Since the beginning of this century, the workforce participation rate has been declining. With the pool of available workers getting shallower, a program to help employers become ‘second chance’ workplaces offers a new approach to reimagining employment in a tight labor market.

Join us for a discussion with Doug about how the Recovery Friendly Workplace Missouri initiative came to be and what research and community engagement around a controversial and emotional public problem looks like on the ground.

Resources

Storyteller Bio

Doug Swanson currently works as an Associate Extension Professional in Labor and Workforce Development at the University of Missouri Extension. He also coordinates and is a teaching faculty for the Labor Studies Certificate Program at the University of Missouri St. Louis. Dr. Swanson identifies as a ‘recovery worker advocate’ after spending over a quarter of a century working for labor unions. The lens he sees life through is that of workers and how issues impact the workforce. Learn more about the Recovery Friendly Workplace Missouri Initiative .

About the Series

Stories from the Field is a conversation series on community engagement and applied research. The series is designed to bring academics and practitioners together for informal discussions about the challenges and opportunities of doing work with communities, businesses, and the public sector. Stories from the Field is hosted by Penn State's Center for Economic and Community Development , an applied research center dedicated to strengthening local and regional development in Pennsylvania and beyond.