UK Institute Shines National Light on Local Innovations

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 27, 2012) — The University of Kentucky’s Institute for Workplace Innovation (iwin) takes a local approach to solve workplace concerns that are relevant to national and international employers. This fall, iwin will attend several national conferences to share the results of its workplace-based research and showcase the innovative practices of Kentucky organizations. The institute conducts scientifically rigorous research on work environments, work-life effectiveness and worker health, and translates research results into solutions for employers, working families, and communities. Its research informs workplace practice, public policy formation, and future research studies. In order to identify its research topics, iwin listens to Kentucky organizations and communities about important local issues. In addition, iwin involves Kentucky organizations extensively in the research process through soliciting information about best practices, organizational challenges, and workforce concerns. This collaborative approach has earned iwin national attention.  Three of iwin’s research studies will be highlighted at upcoming national academic conferences. The Cancer Survivorship and Employment Study, which examines the work-life experiences of Kentucky breast cancer survivors employed in low-wage jobs during breast cancer diagnosis, will be presented at the American Public Health Association Annual (APHA) Conference in San Francisco in October. “Creating Healthy Organizations: Promising Practices in Kentucky” is an extensive case study report that redefines health and wellness from a holistic organizational perspective and highlights Kentucky organizations with exemplary practices and cultures of health and wellness. This research will be shared at the APHA and at the Boston College Center for Work and Family’s National Employer Roundtable in November. The Kentucky Aging Workforce Study identified a number of challenges Kentucky organizations face as their workforce ages, and proposed several practical solutions employers can implement to address these challenges. Results from this study will be shared at the Gerontology Society of America Annual Meeting in San Diego in November. This year is the fifth year iwin has been influencing organizations in Kentucky as well as nationally. By informing organizations about how to become employers-of-choice and by working collaboratively toward the implementation of these practices, iwin strives to build Kentucky’s reputation as a state-of-choice where businesses want to expand and relocate, and where people want to live and work. UK is among the few land-grant universities in the United States to respond to state economic and workforce development challenges by creating an institute dedicated to the development and enhancement of quality work environments and innovative workplaces.  To learn more about iwin, its research, and other ways it engages employers, visit or contact Lee Ann Walton at 

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