The South Central Workforce Investment Board (SCWIB) wants area employers to know financial assistance is available for hiring and training new employees.
“On-the-Job Training” (OJT) is an established and well known government-funded program designed to assist unemployed workers in finding a job while, at the same time, helping employers improve their workforce and bottom line by reimbursing them for 50 percent of the costs associated with training a new employee for up to six months,” said Melissa Robbins, SCWIB director.
Finding employers who are looking to hire personnel and are willing to train new employees in the skills needed for the job are the key element in this program, according to Steven McCann, SCWIB OJT coordinator, who visited Houston last week.
“When an employer is identified and approved for the program we can refer eligible job applicants to them,” McCann said. “The employer interviews the applicants and decides which of them, if any, is to be hired. That decision is always left to the employer.”
Employers agree to train the new employee for a pre-determined period of time (up to six months) during which time the business will be reimbursed for half of the employee’s wages. All the employer needs to do is acknowledge up front that they will pay the new employee the same salary or wage that they would pay any other worker for the same work, that no one was laid off or is already in a lay-off status from the job being filled, and they will continue to employ the new hire for at least six months after training ends (provided the employee meets the employer’s expectations and standards of conduct and performance).
McCann said the program is simple.
“There isn’t the avalanche of paperwork most people expect with such programs, and SCWIB will do most of the paperwork that does exist for you,” he said.
Prior to an employee being hired, McCann said employers will need to complete an application form, enroll in E-Verify and, when an employee is in place, submit a one page invoice and progress report for each month of training to receive the wage reimbursement.
“That’s about all there is to it,” he said. “It’s a great program for both the employee and the employer.”
Unemployed persons who have been honorably discharged from any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces in the past three years or persons who are classified as dislocated workers under the Workforce Investment Act are of special interest to SCWIB, and are identified primarily through the Missouri Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and Missouri Career Center facilities. Unemployed veterans or dislocated workers who feel they would be eligible for OJT can contact SCWIB and have their eligibility verified. Once confirmed, they can be given a letter of OJT eligibility from SCWIB that they can provide to potential employers along with their resume. In this way, employers know in advance that OJT would usually be available for that applicant provided that the employer meets simple eligibility requirements as well.
The SCWIB consists of 12 counties. McCann, who provides OJT services to Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Douglas, Wright and Texas counties, said he’s more than happy to meet with employers, and pointed out all OJT services provided by the SCWIB to the employer and employee are at no cost. Employers in McCann’s area that are interested in learning more about OJT may contact him 417-257-2630 or stop by the SCWIB office at 1105 Independence Drive in West Plains.
Business people who want to learn more about SCWIB and other programs they offer can log onto its website at www.scwib.org.