Georgia Ellyse, a reporter for NBC affiliate KBJR 6 in Duluth, MN, spoke with Transition2Work participant,  John Keith about his experience with our program and how much volunteering at the Red Cross and giving back to the community has had a tremendous impact on him.

Here is the story:

How do employers and employees move forward after an on the job injury? Typically the process involves complex workers comp paperwork, expensive doctors appointments and idle time for the injured employee. Transition2Work, a nationwide ReEmployAbilty program, is a benefit offered by 210 employers in the Northland. The model is designed to benefit injured workers, local non profits and the business that offers it.

“Right after I was injured I went from 100 miles an hour to zero. I sat home for a few weeks. You don’t mean to do it but a person starts to question their self worth,” says John Keith a participant of the Transition2Work program.

Under strict medical limitations Keith suffered a back injury in December and hasn’t been to work since, but in February he began his Transition2Work participation at the red crosses where he’s helped install more than 400 smoke detectors in the Northland.

“I really think it’s aided tremendously in my recovery,” says Keith.

Dan Williams Executive Director of The American Red Cross Northern Minnesota is one of 320 non-profits in the Northland that provide an environment where Transition2Work participants can serve.

“When someone has an injury at work or has an injury they are dealing with before they can return to work  having a sense of purpose and getting out and doing something worthwhile every day makes a  big difference towards their likelihood of being able to return to work” says Williams.

Williams says since fall of 2015…injured workers in the ReEmployAbility program have provided his organization with more than 3,000 hours of volunteer services equating to close to 50,000 dollars of volunteer time.

“It’s really  been a fantastic program that’s made a difference in our community and it really shows that our employers don’t just employ people but they are apart of the community,”

Overall 61 percent referred to ReEmployAbility will return to work after participating in the transition to work program. We’re also told even after the injured workers recover many of them will continue volunteering at the organization they were matched with.

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