WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of $20 million in grants to help Americans who are injured or ill remain in or return to the workforce. The grants are intended to identify new, replicable strategies to help individuals with a work-related disability stay on the job.
“America’s workforce is strengthened by the participation of all Americans. After an injury or illness, it is critical for workers to have the ability to return to the labor force as quickly as possible,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “These grants will help develop innovative strategies that enable injured or ill Americans to return to work so they can support themselves and provide for their families.”
The grants represent the first phase of funding for Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN) Demonstration Projects, which will be administered by the Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), in partnership with the Department’s Employment and Training Administration and the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Successful applicants will propose coordinated employment and health services through an integrated network of partners, including state and/or local workforce development agencies; health-care systems and/or provider networks; and other strategic partners, such as employers or insurers.
The Department anticipates awarding up to eight grants of approximately $2.5 million each to be spent over an 18-month period for planning and start-up activities, including the launch of a small pilot demonstration. Near the conclusion of this first phase, the Department anticipates competitively awarding up to four of the Phase One grantees with additional funding up to approximately $19.5 million each to implement their demonstration projects at full scale. The Department anticipates Phase Two will span 42 months, including 30 months for project implementation and 12 for closeout and final assessment activities. The SSA will administer an independent evaluation of the RETAIN projects.
Eligible applicants are state Departments of Labor, state Workforce Development Agencies, or an equivalent entity with responsibility for labor, employment, and/or workforce development; and entities described in section 166(c) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act relating to Indian and Native American programs. Applicants are also required to partner with the State Workforce Development Board and State Health Department or equivalent entities; health-care systems practicing coordinated care and population health management. Applicants and may also partner with other equivalent entities generally responsible for regulating, managing or influencing the provision of health services.
The full announcement for this grant opportunity can be found at https://www.grants.gov or https://www.dol.gov/odep. Applications will be accepted until July 23, 2018. In addition, there will be a prospective applicant webinar held for this grant competition. The date and access information for the webinar will be posted on ODEP’s website in the near future at https://www.dol.gov/odep.