Retain initiative logo

The RETAIN—Retaining Employment and Talent after Injury/Illness Network—Initiative promotes closer coordination among individuals and organizations who influence workers' decisions about how or whether to stay at or return to work after a work disability. RETAIN programs implement early intervention strategies to improve stay-at-work/return-to-work (SAW/RTW) outcomes of individuals who experience a work disability while employed.

SAW/RTW programs succeed by returning injured or ill workers to productive work as soon as medically possible. RETAIN programs target individuals with work-related or non-work-related injuries and illnesses who are employed or at a minimum in the labor force when the injury or illness occur.

Early coordination of health care and employment services is key to RETAIN programs. These services include:​​

  • Training in occupational health best practices for participating health providers​
  • Active involvement of a RTW Coordinator throughout the medical recovery period to facilitate continued employment​
  • Enhanced communication among workers, employers, and health care providers​
  • Accommodations and job modifications​
  • Retraining and rehabilitation services​

RETAIN programs provide services through an integrated network of partners that includes close collaboration between health care systems and/or providers, state workforce development board and local employment service providers, employers or industry organizations, and, of course, worker or disability advocacy representatives.

The RETAIN Initiative spans a total of 6 ½ years and is funded in two phases.

Table Caption
PhaseFundingPerformance PeriodGrant Activities
Phase 1Funding $25,675,663 totalPerformance Period September 2018 – March 2021

Grant Activities

Planning & start-up activities

Pilot program

Phase 2


Approximately $110,000,000 total

Up to $21,600,000 per state

Performance Period April 2021 – March 2025 (projected)

Grant Activities

Scale up & implement RETAIN program

Participate in independent evaluation