U.S. Department of Labor: Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) Demonstration Projects
Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) Demonstration Projects will award funding in two phases. In Phase 1, awardees will plan and conduct pilot demonstration projects. A subset of Phase 1 RETAIN awardees will competitively receive Phase 2 RETAIN cooperative agreements and funds to implement projects at full scale.
This announcement solicits applications for Phase 1-RETAIN Planning and Pilot cooperative agreements for the RETAIN Demonstration Projects. The purpose of the RETAIN initiative is to implement and evaluate promising stay-at-work/return-to-work (SAW/RTW) early intervention strategies to support injured or ill workers in remaining at or returning to work. The awardees will accomplish this by providing coordinated health and employment services for up to six months that support labor force attachment.
Successful applicants will provide services through an integrated network of partners that includes close collaboration between state and/or local workforce development entities, health care systems and/or health care provider networks, and other partners (e.g., employers or insurers) as appropriate. If additional services are required after six months, participants will be referred to non-RETAIN-funded services.
The RETAIN Phase 1 cooperative agreements provide funding to conduct planning, infrastructure development, and pilot activities necessary to prepare for possible competitive selection to participate in Phase 2 of the initiative, which will include program implementation of the demonstration project and participation in the related independent evaluation.
In general, applicants will:
- Identify a population of workers in their state who experience injuries or medical conditions that put them at risk of developing a work disability.
- Develop a coordinated, comprehensive strategy to connect these workers to participating health care providers and the project’s RTW coordinators to ultimately return them to work with employers.
This demonstration should enhance existing standard practices or establish new practices (currently identified as best practices through research) that improve the coordination of health and comprehensive employment services to promote RTW. The RTW Coordinator is critical to the success of RETAIN projects.
The primary goals of the RETAIN Demonstration Projects are:
- To increase employment retention and labor force participation of individuals who acquire, and/or are at risk of developing, work disabilities.
- To reduce long-term work disability among project participants, including the need for federal disability benefits (i.e., Social Security Disability Insurance [SSDI] and Supplemental Security Income [SSI]).
The ultimate purpose of the demonstration is to validate and bring to scale evidence-based strategies to accomplish these goals.
Amount: A total of $20,000,000 is available. In Phase 1 a total of up to $2,500,000 will be made to up to eight awardees. Expenditures for planning activities are limited to $1,000,000, leaving a minimum of $1,500,000 for pilot implementation. At the conclusion of the initial period of performance, up to four Phase 1 awardees will be awarded supplemental funding of up to $19,750,000 each to implement the demonstration projects during Phase 2 through a separate competition.
- State Departments of Labor, State Workforce Development Agencies, or an equivalent entity with responsibility for labor, employment, and/or workforce development.
- Entities described in section 166(c) of WIOA relating to Indian and Native American programs. These entities include Indian tribes, tribal organizations, Alaska Native entities, Indian-controlled organizations serving Indians, or Native Hawaiian organizations. These applicants are not required to partner with Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs).
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