RoseTech bridges gaps for recovering addicts

Melissa Westphal

A job sorting and inspecting manufacturing parts is exactly what Elena B. needed to ease back into the work force after struggling with an alcohol and cocaine addiction since she was a teenager.

RoseTech Industries LLC, an affiliate of Rosecrance Health Network, gave her that real-life job opportunity. Elena, 38, has been there since October and is ready to find work in the so-called real world.

“It’s been wonderful, really,” she said. “I was ready to come back to work where it wasn’t stressful, and this was an understanding and welcoming environment.”

RoseTech, which opened in 1999, helps recovering adults transition into the job world with real-life experience. It offers hands-on job training, work outsourced from local companies, paired with resume writing and interviewing skills.

Elena, who uses only her first name per Rosecrance policy, used to be an executive assistant to a CEO. She felt like she could do everything — work, take care of her children and maintain her marriage — until her life started to unravel and she sought treatment at Rosecrance in July.

Typical jobs are assembly and inspection, but the program is limitless, based on what customers want.

“We meet all the criteria you would expect in an outsourcing company,” said Tim Leaf, RoseTech’s business development manager. Outsourcing to RoseTech is a cost-saver, allowing companies to save money by not spending it on overtime or training for new employees. RoseTech does work for a couple of dozen companies locally — in some cases, hiring directly from RoseTech.

Keith Pennington, chief financial officer and vice president of finance for Rosecrance, said Rose­Tech was born from need. Finding and maintaining a job topped the list of challenges for people after they left Rosecrance, especially if they relapsed and returned to the facility.

“Maybe some of them had burned bridges or never had a job,” Pennington said. “Sometimes the gap of being in treatment and out of the work force hindered them.”

Patients still in treatment meet with a job-readiness coordinator who assesses their need. Maybe they just need resume or interviewing tips, or their need is greater and they get referred to RoseTech.

Pennington said employees usually stay at RoseTech for three to six months, depending on the job market at the time. No one has stayed longer than a year, though.

RoseTech emphasizes the most basic parts of a job routine: getting up early, showing up on time, getting along with your boss and co-workers, finding child care during work hours. The facility runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. five days a week.

The process begins with filling out an application and interviewing for a job at RoseTech. Employees earn minimum wage when they start but are eligible for pay increases and bonuses.

RoseTech has helped more than 250 people find jobs, and more than 2,500 people have gone through Rosecrance’s job-readiness programs.

Staff writer Melissa Westphal can be reached at 815-987-1341 or