RETAIN Expands to Help More Kentucky Employees Stay in the Workforce

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 10, 2022) — The Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) Kentucky Program implemented by the University of Kentucky works with employees, employers and health care providers to address issues that can keep people from returning to work after injury or illness. RETAIN also helps people who may be at risk of leaving their employment to stay on the job.

The free program is open to employees 18 and older who have non-occupational illnesses or injuries that prevent them from performing their jobs. Participants get support to identify their stay-at-work and return-to-work goals and take steps to achieve those goals.

Launched in 2018, the unique intervention program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and implemented by UK in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Research, Human Development Institute (HDI), Human Resources and UK HealthCare, is helping thousands of employees across the Commonwealth stay in the workforce.

“We are certainly thrilled at the Human Development Institute to provide leadership that we think contributes positively to Kentucky's workforce moving forward, and particularly to an inclusive workforce,” said Johnny Collett, deputy director of HDI. “RETAIN Kentucky efforts really align with a lot of other things that are happening across the state. And one of the things it aligns with is Kentucky's Employment First policy, which means that competitive integrated employment in the community is the first and preferred option for all citizens with disabilities of working age who desire to become employed, regardless of their level of disability.”

In 2018, RETAIN Kentucky began as a pilot program, which served more than 200 employees and trained more than 1,100 health care providers and stakeholders. In 2021, the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation received a $21.6 million grant to fund a second phase of the program, which includes statewide expansion to serve more than 3,000 employees.

Individuals interested in enrolling in RETAIN Kentucky can get more information at, email or call 859-562-3251.


The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.