RETAINWORKS serves individuals who have experienced an injury or illness risking continued employment but have the desire to stay at work or return to it as soon as is advisable. Employers can also refer their existing injured or ill employees to the program. RETAINWORKS participants will have access to an AVC nurse navigator to assist them with the coordination of services through the process of recovery, and access to a workforce program coordinator for employment-related needs, with funds available for retraining program participants if needed.



The Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas (WA), in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce, implemented a stay-at-work/return-to-work program, called RETAINWORKS, Retaining Employment and Talent after Injury/Illness Network. The project began on June 3, 2019, with a pilot program for Butler County employers or residents through the Butler Workforce Center in El Dorado, in partnership with Ascension Via Christi (AVC), and has expanded to cover all of Kansas.

The goal is to assist individuals who become ill or injured to remain in the labor force, benefitting the individual, their family, employers, and the economy. The program also aims to reduce long-term work absences among project participants and lessen the need for individuals to seek Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Kansas is one of five states funded to implement and evaluate early intervention strategies designed to improve stay-at-work/return-to-work outcomes. WA and AVC have developed a program focused on early coordination and communication between employers, healthcare providers, and employment-services professionals for individuals facing an illness or injury that could prevent ongoing employment. The primary focus of the RETAINWORKS program strategies is individuals with musculoskeletal injuries, illnesses, mental disorders, and chronic diseases.

For more information on how to participate in RETAINWORKS, contact the Nurse Navigator, Megan Schmidt (, or Program Navigator, Jodi Hearn (  You can also call 316-771-6800.