About The Study
In 2021, the Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) partnered with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and funded contractor Mathematica to support the ongoing evaluation of the Retaining Employment & Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) demonstration projects. CEO’s contract supports enrollment data collection and the random assignment of study participants for phase 2 of the RETAIN demonstration. The impact evaluation aims to assess the effectiveness of intervention strategies from RETAIN demonstration projects operating in Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, and Vermont.
The RETAIN demonstration project is designed to test early intervention Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work (SAW/RTW) strategies to improve labor force participation, employment, and earnings outcomes for workers who are injured or become ill while employed. In addition, the SAW/RTW strategies are intended to increase labor force retention and reduce the need for eventual assistance from the Social Security Administration’s disability programs for workers experiencing a work-threatening injury or illness.
This jointly-funded study by SSA and the Department of Labor was a result of federal interagency collaboration to identify ways to help workers regain employment and reduce their need for federal disability benefits. It contributes to the labor evidence-base to inform disability and employment programs and policies and addresses Departmental strategic goals and priorities.
- Support an impact evaluation of the RETAIN demonstration by supporting enrollment data collection and random assignment of study participants.
- Develop, maintain, and monitor state-specific enrollment systems to collect data and facilitate real-time random assignment of participants.
- Provide technical support to states and programs using the enrollment system, including developing and communicating requirements, establishing data validation plans, and operating a Help Desk.
- Report on RETAIN implementation progress based on grantees’ performance data and contextualized with available public use data.
- Summarize potential additional topic briefs and promising opportunities for implementing a behavioral trial within the RETAIN demonstration.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.