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Pennsylvania Company Gives Recovering Addicts a Second Chance

The father-son owner-operators of a commercial paint stripping company look to expand their successful hiring practice into a training and employment center.

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George and Mike Vorel Photo via

By Shawn Dwyer

12/24/13

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In a quiet corner of Pennsylvania just outside Pittsburgh, a small company has been helping recovering addicts return to a regular life by offering jobs to substance abusers when no one else would hire them.

Envirosafe Stripping, Inc., an industrial paint and abrasive blasting company in Carnegie, PA, a borough in the Pittsburgh Metro Area, has been hiring employees who have criminal records or backgrounds involving drug abuse. One employee, Jeramie Miller, a recovering heroin addict with an arrest record longer than his résumé, was hired over two years ago despite - and in fact because of - his troubled background. “We try to find individuals who deserve a second chance, who deserve to have an opportunity,” said Josh Inklovich, vice president of business development at Envirosafe.

The reason that the company has made a concerted effort to hire addicts and other so-called undesirables comes straight from the top. Company founder and owner, George Vorel, saw his own daughter succumb to heroin addiction. Though she’s now clean, his daughter struggled to get her life back on track and because of that Vorel was struck by the idea to help others in the same situation. “I run to opportunities to give back,” Mr. Vorel said. Such opportunities were given to a wide variety of people with criminal and substance abuse backgrounds, including Miller, the man who introduced Vorel’s daughter to heroin in the first place.

While there have certainly been bumps in the road – some employees have relapsed, which has led to their termination, though they can return if they clean up their acts – Vorel and his son, Mike, are planning to expand the program and turn Envirosafe into a skilled trade training and employment center. “We’re really just getting started formalizing what we’ve been doing already, and making it more successful,” said Inklovich.

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