Randomized multi-site trial of the Job Seekers' Workshop in patients with substance use disorders

Dace S. Svikis, Lori Keyser-Marcus, Maxine Stitzer, Traci Rieckmann, Lauretta Safford, Peter Loeb, Tim Allen, Carol Luna-Anderson, Sudie E. Back, Judith Cohen, Michael A. DeBernardi, Bruce Dillard, Alyssa Forcehimes, William Jaffee, Therese Killeen, Ken Kolodner, Michael Levy, Diane Pallas, Harold I. Perl, Jennifer Sharpe PotterScott Provost, Karen Reese, Royce R. Sampson, Allison Sepulveda, Ned Snead, Conrad J. Wong, Joan Zweben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background: Unemployment is associated with negative outcomes both during and after drug abuse treatment. Interventions designed to increase rates of employment may also improve drug abuse treatment outcomes. The purpose of this multi-site clinical trial was to evaluate the Job Seekers' Workshop (JSW), a three session, manualized program designed to train patients in the skills needed to find and secure a job. Method: Study participants were recruited through the NIDA Clinical Trials Network (CTN) from six psychosocial counseling (n = 327) and five methadone maintenance (n = 301) drug treatment programs. Participants were randomly assigned to either standard care (program-specific services plus brochure with local employment resources) (SC) or standard care plus JSW. Three 4-h small group JSW sessions were offered weekly by trained JSW facilitators with ongoing fidelity monitoring. Results: JSW and SC participants had similar 12- and 24-week results for the primary outcome measure (i.e., obtaining a new taxed job or enrollment in a training program). Specifically, one-fifth of participants at 12. weeks (20.1-24.3%) and nearly one-third at 24. weeks (31.4-31.9%) had positive outcomes, with "obtaining a new taxed job" accounting for the majority of cases. Conclusion: JSW group participants did not have higher rates of employment/training than SC controls. Rates of job acquisition were modest for both groups, suggesting more intensive interventions may be needed. Alternate targets (e.g., enhancing patient motivation, training in job-specific skills) warrant further study as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Employment
  • Substance use disorders
  • Translational research
  • Treatment
  • Vocational rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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