Recovery-friendly workplaces allow businesses to be at the forefront of using inclusive hiring practices to address workforce shortages and offer opportunities to often-stigmatized, historically overlooked job seekers.

This event was for rural economic or workforce development corporations, rural chambers of commerce, nonprofits working with low- and moderate-income communities, and other rural or countywide decision makers who wanted to learn more about inclusive workforce models. Attendees heard from subject matter experts who made the economic case for a more inclusive and wholistic approach to labor force participation. Participants learned about the benefits of businesses becoming recovery-friendly workplaces and how this approach has evolved from a recruitment strategy to a new philosophy for hiring methods.

Watch a Video of the Event

Presenters included:

  • Lisa Davis, Director, Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health
  • Glenn Sterner, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Penn State Abington
  • Kristina Brant, Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology, Penn State University
  • Denise H. Continenza, Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health, Penn State Extension - Lehigh County
  • Douglas Swanson, Coordinator for the Labor Studies Program, University of Missouri–St. Louis

Download the presentation slides.

This virtual meeting is a continuation of the Rural Community Action Assemblies. Launched in 2020, the series focuses on actionable research and programmatic models to promote strong and equitable community, economic, and workforce development in rural Pennsylvania. This year’s series is cohosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and Penn State's Center for Economic and Community Development.

For questions about this series, please contact Philip Jones at