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As his job title indicates, VanLaarhoven also specializes in employer outreach and, as such, he spends much of his time communicating with employers to inform them about RETAIN services. He does this in coordination with Minnesota RETAIN’s RTW Case Managers to ensure consistent messaging. Using targeted language focused on the bottom-line benefits of helping workers stay at or return to work after injury or illness, VanLaarhoven and his colleagues engage employers through phone calls, emails, job fairs, in-person discussions, and face-to-face presentations.

“The messaging that seems to resonate most with employers is the data we share with them about lost work time and productivity,” says VanLaarhoven. “Employers in our region see great value in helping their workers return to work as quickly and safely as possible.” To date, VanLaarhoven and his team have reached out to employers from various sectors. In addition to local governments and the local library, more than 10 other employers have said they are willing to host transitional work experiences for RETAIN participants.