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Only 5 of 562 people fail WorkForce drug test

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Only five of 562 people have failed since mandatory drug testing began for people who want to receive training funded by the Workforce Investment Act.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed an executive order in April requiring the tests. WorkForce West Virginia said that between July 16, when the tests began, and Dec. 6:

* 562 people were tested;

* 5 tests were positive;

* 3 individuals were scheduled for a test but canceled the appointment; and

* 1 person refused to be tested.

Asked why such a small percentage of people have failed the test, WorkForce West Virginia spokeswoman Courtney Sisk said, "Individuals may elect not to participate in the program if they know they cannot pass a drug screen."

In July it was reported that WorkForce Acting Director Russell Fry told a state legislative commission that because the test results are confidential, he couldn't say whether any of the 14 people who had been tested during the program's first week had been rejected for training due to a failed drug test.

Asked what changed to make the data available now, Sisk said in a prepared statement that WorkForce "receives aggregate information from the test vendor, so we know numbers but not names. The test results are mailed directly to the individual, not WorkForce West Virginia."

A drug test is required for most on-the-job training programs WorkForce offers. Examples include truck or bus driver training, mining technician training, nurse training and construction equipment operator training.

The test screens for 10 categories of drugs including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and prescription mood-altering drugs like benzodiazepines.

Tests are conducted by Health Research Systems under a contract with the state. The company charges $47 per test, which is paid for with federal money.

Individuals who do not pass the drug test cannot enroll in a Workforce program for 90 days. If they fail again after 90 days, they must wait a year before they can apply again.

A test is not required of people filing weekly unemployment claims, individuals participating in Labor Exchange Programs, or people who seek veterans employment-training services.

WorkForce's six-page drug screening policy is posted on the agency's website.

Contact writer George Hohmann at business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/GeorgeHohmann.

 


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