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Human Development Institute

University Center for
Excellence in Disabilities

Man and woman lifting a box and woman grabbing back in pain.

RETAIN Kentucky Helps Injured Workers Remain at or Return to Their Jobs

Published: July 30, 2019

When people leave the labor force because they become sick or have an injury, it can be detrimental—for them, their families, employers and the economy. An individual’s quality of life can be negatively impacted by health conditions and financial problems. Employers incur unexpected expenses due to the loss of a valuable employee; and governments at all levels face reductions in the tax base, costly payouts of disability benefits and decreased economic activity.

Kentucky is proud to be participating in an initiative designed to address these issues—the RETAIN Demonstration Project, which is a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in partnership with the Employment and Training Administration and the Social Security Administration. Through RETAIN, eight state teams are implementing and evaluating early intervention strategies designed to help injured or ill employees remain in or return to their jobs. The Kentucky Department of Workforce Investment together with the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute and committed project partners are leading the RETAIN Kentucky project.

Building on state efforts including Kentucky Work Matters, Employment First, and the Call to Action to Meet Commonwealth Workforce Needs, RETAIN Kentucky will use peer support, assistive technology and universal design to promote quality, coordinated health and employment-related stay-at-work/return-to-work (SAW/RTW) services. RETAIN Kentucky service coordinators will work directly with employers to assess the impact of SAW/RTW activities and help workers facing illness or injury remain in or return to the workforce.

“HDI is on the front lines of implementing RETAIN Kentucky, along with the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and a truly interdisciplinary group of partners. This project has the potential to help change outcomes for people who may otherwise leave the workforce. We know the negative impact that has on families, businesses and the economy. We also hope to expand understanding of both health care and employers about how to retain employees after an injury or illness that affects muscle, joint or bone in the process. This could be a game changer for Kentucky.” —Dr. Kathy Sheppard-Jones

Download a promotional flyer about RETAIN Kentucky to learn more about the program.

If you would like more information about RETAIN Kentucky, contact: Beth Potter @ 859-948-3859 or Beth.Potter@uky.edu.

This project was also highlighted by the University on UKNow as a notable effort that is helping to power innovation.