An on-the-job training grant (OJT) is when an employer is reimbursed 50% of a new employee’s wages over a period of time—typically 6-8 weeks or up to $3000—to help defray the initial investment for bringing on a new hire. There is minimal paperwork involved—besides a basic training plan that is developed prior to the start of the OJT, employers simply submit payroll documentation which acts as an invoice for purposes of reimbursement.
As the name would imply, an employer uses the money that is reimbursed to them to support on-the-job training for the new hire. The company may choose to enroll the individual at the community college, have them complete classes with a proprietary training provider, support it’s own training program, or any combination of these—with an OJT its at the discretion of the employer how best to leverage the funds for supporting their overall training strategy.
Each individual is only eligible for an OJT at the outset of their employment with the sponsoring company, however, an employer can do as many OJTs as they have available opportunities and/or qualified applicants. To qualify, Capital Area Michigan Works! (CAMW!) needs to determine whether an individual is eligible under the WIA (Workforce Investment Act) program. Every WIA eligibility determination varies on a case-by-case basis but two typical ways a person would qualify for the program is if they are unemployed or if their annual household income is under the $40,000 threshold.
Typically the process is initiated when a company has a position they are looking to fill. An employer starts by contacting the IT Council Director who will ensure a job order gets posted on the Michigan Talent Bank system (the state’s free on-line jobs resource for employers and job seekers.) The IT Council Director will also alert the CAMW! system of the available opportunity to begin the process of screening potential applicants against the company’s basic criteria. If coordinated properly, employers can even include candidates that they are able to generate through their own efforts (for instance, individuals who apply for jobs through the company’s web site)—however, CAMW! needs to be involved early on since WIA eligibility will need to be determine for all candidates which may require individuals to provide appropriate documentation, complete basic skills testing, and/or visit a CAMW! service center. This way, when the employer is presented with a group of qualified applicants they know which of the individuals are eligible for these additional funds so they can take this into consideration prior to making any final hiring decisions.
For a small IT Council member (with annual membership dues of $300) who is able to use an OJT for just one hire per year, they can see a ten fold return on their investment. And for larger IT Council members who are regularly hiring new staff, funding from multiple OJTs can be pooled together to pay for large group training projects, bring in an external trainer, or fund additional internal training staff.