RETAIN Expands to Help More Kentucky Employees Stay in the Workforce

Video produced by UK Research Communications. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.

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.


As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.