AGC/VT wins national award for industry-leading efforts in Mental Health and substance use disorder prevention

 AGC/VT initiative has saved five lives, distributed more than 50,000 Narcan doses, and 12,000 harm reduction kits to contractors, organizations, and businesses in Vermont.

Vermont Business Magazine On March 22, 2024, the Associated General Contractors of Vermont (AGC/VT) was honored with the prestigious AGC In The Community Chapter Award for its exceptional leadership and dedication in combatting substance use disorders and promoting mental health awareness in Vermont's construction sector.

“Our members are honored to be nationally recognized for our initiatives to address the opioid overdoses and substance use disorders in Vermont and our industry,” said Richard Wobby, executive vice president of AGC/VT. “While this win is very meaningful, more importantly, our efforts have already saved five lives.”

Since the pandemic, Vermont has seen accidental opioid overdoses and substance use disorders skyrocket, with the construction industry being hit particularly hard. By some estimates, 23 percent of Vermont suicides and 26 percent of overdose deaths are in the construction field—more than any sector.

Recognizing the growing need to provide more education, services, and assistance to people in the construction industry, AGC/VT launched a multi-faceted program in 2023. The program includes partnering with the Vermont Department of Health and Reid Wobby, a mental health consultant, to distribute Narcan doses (which reverse opioid overdoses) and harm reduction kits.

To date, AGC/VT has distributed 25,000 harm reduction kits to Vermonters in need; 12,000 Narcan doses to contractors; and 50,000 Narcan doses statewide to other organizations and businesses. It’s estimated that AGC/VT’s efforts have reached 150,000 Vermonters.

Additionally, AGC/VT hosts an ongoing training series for the construction community focused on mental health awareness, suicide prevention, and opioid addiction.

AGC/VT's pioneering efforts have not only garnered national recognition but have also inspired similar initiatives across the state. As a result of its leadership, 18 other associations have followed replicated its programs and partnership with the Vermont Department of Health.

“Our commitment to the well-being of our members extends beyond the physical aspects of safety to encompass mental health awareness and support," said Wobby. “Through collaborative efforts and innovative initiatives, we are paving the way for a safer and healthier construction industry in Vermont.”

The association has also partnered with Jenna’s Promise, a nonprofit organization started by Greg and Dawn Tatro—owners of G.W. Tatro Construction and members of AGC/VT who lost their daughter, Jenna, to a substance use disorder. The partnership has included coordinating and producing promotional and educational videos to help Vermonters in recovery reenter the workforce.

Providing public awareness about the organization and its work in various outlets including The Build Board, a print magazine distributed to more than 10,000 construction industry professionals, and its podcast, Aired Out, which reaches more than 50,000 listeners.

Additionally, AGC/VT and its members were instrumental in helping to build Jenna’s House—a community and recovery center in Johnson, VT. Members including Casella Waste, Casella Construction, Stowe Builders, Manosh Well Drilling, Norway Electrical, Carrol Concrete, and Pike Industries and more provided financial support, and donated materials and time to refurbishing the building.

The award was presented by the Associated General Contractors of America, the leading construction association in the nation.

For more information about AGC/VT and its initiatives, visit agcvt.org.

Source: Montpelier, VT / May 8, 2024: Associated General Contractors of Vermont

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