MTVSolar Initiates Employment Program in Appalachia to Combat Opioid Addiction
The opioid overdose epidemic began in the U.S. in the 1990s and its widespread effect has become an area of concern in Appalachia. This is following irresponsible and unregulated pharmaceutical practices. To help curb this menace, Mountain View Solar (mtvSolar) contractor has partnered with the local addiction treatment center to combat opioid addiction.
Mountain View Solar, which ranks number 252 on the Top Solar Contractor List of 2022, began as a building contractor constructing green homes in 1995. The company constructed homes with high-performance insulation, tight envelopes, low to no volatile organic building compounds, and radiant floor heating.
Michael McKechnie, who is the founder and CEO of Mountain View Solar said that the company transitioned from building to conserving energy. The company started to focus on making energy and was involved in geothermal, air, and hydronic.
MtvSolar started to install small wind and solar hot water systems. They later transitioned to PV in 2007 before deciding to strictly focus on PV and battery storage in 2011. This is after constructing the last house.
CEO of the Mountaineer Recovery Center (MRC), Dr. Jonathan Hartiens, commissioned Mountain View Solar to install solar arrays in 2021. Dr. Jonathan suggested that two people enrolled at the addiction treatment center take part in the installation and see it as an employment opportunity. According to him, this would give those leaving the treatment center a sense of structure to help prevent them from falling back into opioid addiction.
The two trainees were selected from the outpatient section and they were trained by the contractor to build a 200-kW solar array. During their employment, the trainees were taken through a drug test and met their counselors every week. This helped to ensure that they met the rehabilitation requirements. Kelly Waugh, the VP, and controller at the company said that addiction is complex and it requires a multi-faceted approach.
He said that this strategy was impactful and the people at the treatment center get a second chance. For instance, mtvSolar was able to hire one trainee to work for them. The company has also expanded the rehabilitation support by converting space in its headquarters to take through other trainees in the employment program.