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OJT is win-win for employer, job seeker

Earn while you learn. Sound too good to be true? Read on.

There are opportunities throughout Southern Nevada for job seekers to receive on-the-job training at businesses ranging from computer science to hospitality to health care. In the workforce development world, we call on-the-job training opportunities “OJTs,” and they are a true win-win for both the job seeker and the employer.

Let me explain.

Sometimes a potential employee who is currently unemployed may not have all the skills or experience an employer is seeking. Or perhaps the potential employee is underemployed, meaning they aren’t earning a living wage or working part time. That’s where Workforce Connections and our service providers come in.

Workforce Connections receives federal funding from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and, through our service providers, can reimburse an employer up to 50 percent of a new hire salary to compensate for the extraordinary training and supervision costs. You read that right. Up to 50 percent.

The result? The newly hired employee can earn a full salary while learning the necessary skills for proficient performance on-the-job.

A typical OJT contract is between three to six months, but consideration is given based on the skill requirements of the occupation, the academic and occupational skill level of the participant, prior work experience and the new employee’s ultimate employment goals.

The goal is to help job seekers get their feet into the door and allow them the opportunity to be properly trained so they can sustain the job, support themselves financially and contribute to the local economy. On the flip side, the employer is able to spend the time to properly train and educate the new hire so they become a valuable and, hopefully, long-term employee.

We often hear employers say, “I really liked this candidate, but they just didn’t have the experience I’m looking for, and I don’t have the resources to teach them.”

OJTs solve that problem. However, OJTs are not a subsidy to employers for normal hiring, but rather a tool for employers — especially small employers — to train an employee they may not have considered hiring.

Take for example Nick, an unemployed Army veteran who recently relocated to Las Vegas and was struggling to find work. He came to the One-Stop Career Center, located at 6330 West Charleston Blvd., for help. Our career coach helped Nick select an in-demand career.

Through the federal funds, we then helped pay for training so Nick could receive heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) certification. Then we set Nick up with an OJT shortly after graduation as he had no practical experience in the field.

He was able to learn the job while on the job. Nick is currently working full time and earning $17 an hour.

There are some additional considerations for employers and job seekers considering utilizing OJTs, including the size the employer (emphasis on small businesses), the quality of employer-provided training and advancement opportunities, and that the job is in-demand and will lead to an industry-recognized credential. Also, OJTs are considered when it relates to the introduction of new technologies, new production or service procedures, upgrading to new jobs that require additional skills, workplace literacy, and other similar workplace initiatives.

And, yes, we monitor every OJT to make sure goals are being met by both the employee and employer.

Interested in learning more?

Contact any one of our One-Stop Career Center affiliates across Southern Nevada or our One-Stop Career Center at Charleston Boulevard and Torrey Pines Drive. Go online at www.nvcareercenter.org. Or, call our business hotline at 702-636-4380.

OJTs are just one of many tools we are using to connect employers to a ready workforce while improving the quality of life and workforce development for everyone in our community. I look forward to introducing you to more tools, tricks and tips for both employers and job seekers in the coming months.

At Workforce Connections, we believe in people, partnerships and possibilities. We are here to serve our diverse and wonderful community while fulfilling our vision of full employment for all Nevadans.

Kenadie Cobbin Richardson is the director of business engagement and communications for Workforce Connections, Southern Nevada’s local workforce development board. For more information, visit www.nvworkforceconnections.org or www.nvcareercenter.org. Email Richardson at krichardson@nvworkforceconnections.org.

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