ODJFS awarded $18.8 million to help workers

Staff report

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has been awarded $18.8 million by the U.S. Department of Labor for the continuation and expanse of pilot projects to help newly-injured and ill workers remain in the workforce.

It’s the ODJFS share of more than $103 million allotted between five states to begin the second phase of demonstration projects in the development of the Retaining Employment and Talent after Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN).

Agencies in Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Vermont will also benefit.

RETAIN focuses on implementing and evaluating stay-at-work and return-to-work strategies to help people to remain effective contributors to the labor force following illness or injury. States will use grant funds to improve coordination among employers, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders able to help workers find alternatives as they decide whether to stay at or return to work following illness or injury.

“The grants awarded today will support these states’ efforts to help workers keep their place as valued members of the workforce and avoid the kinds of severe economic loss workers may suffer when illness or injury occurs,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said. “With millions of American workers forced out of work by injury or illness each year, expanding strategies like these will promote inclusive workforce practices and bolster our economic recovery at a time when our focus must be on stopping and recovering from this pandemic.”

RETAIN is collaborative effort by the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy in partnership with its Employment and Training Administration and the Social Security Administration. The department has awarded Phase 2 grants to projects with a particular focus on under-served and under-represented communities, both disproportionately hurt by the pandemic.

Staff report