Many different types of services are integral to the success of KRA’s workforce development operations. One, when required, is providing jobseeker-customers with basic or advanced occupational-skills training, and another, which is overarching, is providing local employer-customers with a pipeline of skilled workers. Sometimes these services are provided sequentially, and sometimes simultaneously. Such is the case with KRA’s On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program, a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) initiative that allows employers to hire, train, and retain employees in full-time permanent jobs, all while receiving Federally-subsidized wage reimbursements, up to 75%, during the course of the OJT contract. Below are representative examples of how KRA was able to serve the needs of four Waccamaw Region, South Carolina, customers…two jobseekers and two employers…for whom the KRA OJT Training Program was tailor-made:
KRA enrolled Teresa Grimmage, a single woman of 32, in its WIA Adult Worker Program on March 31, 2011. She had recently moved back to the Waccamaw area, with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering, and was eager to find gainful employment…but only in her chosen field. Despite her educational preparation and 5 years’ experience in administration, engineering, and sales, with the current economic situation, no suitable job opportunity presented itself right away. After a few months, Teresa accepted a part-time job with the local school system, while she continued to implement her Individual Employment Plan (IEP), which included job-search workshops, with Josephette Dotson, KRA Career Agent. And then it happened: Dotson was able to negotiate an OJT opportunity for her, which began on December 29, 2011, and will rollover into a fulltime position on May 13, 2012. Teresa is working as a Mechanical Engineer with a local company that designs and builds automatic and manual gate-operating systems. Dotson recently reported, “Teresa is absolutely ecstatic that she is again working in her field of expertise, and thanks KRA for opening the door to this much-desired opportunity.”
Heather Sweetser, who is married and 52 years old, was let go by her employer after several years of service. Sherell Robinson, KRA Career Agent, reported, “When I first met with Heather on August 11th, she told me this was the first time she’d been out of work in a long time, and wasn’t sure how to approach the job market. So, she enrolled in our WIA Dislocated Worker Program, and we began working on her IEP.” She continued, “Heather’s plan included resume adjustment, job-search workshops, self-directed job search efforts, and because she wanted to change careers, occupational-skills training in the Healthcare arena.
While continuing to work closely with Robinson and the KRA Business Services Unit on completing her IEP, Heather volunteered with various community organizations to enhance her workplace-readiness and her resume. We were pleased when Robinson recently reported, “On January 5th, Heather started work as a Medical Secretary on an OJT contract with a local Chiropractic Clinic, earning well above the $7.25 an hour minimum wage! She is enjoying the position and is grateful to KRA and the WIA Program for helping find meaningful training and employment for her. Heather’s employer has already reported great things about her job performance, and I have every confidence that at the end of the contract on May 3rd, she will be hired permanently by the Clinic.”
Don Scott, KRA Senior Vice President for Workforce Operations, concluded, “OJT Training is one of the most effective forms of occupational-skills training because it takes place at the jobsite, which presents actual working conditions and environments, not those simulated in a classroom or laboratory setting. In other words, no transfer of learning is required. And, it serves the needs of employers at the same time because they fill an open position with a pre-screened, qualified candidate. Often too, it’s a less expensive hiring practice for employers because, in addition to the subsidy they receive during the OJT training period, no special equipment is needed other than what is normally used on the job.”