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Mayor Vincent C. Gray Announces Availability of 2 Million Dollars for New On-the-Job Training Program

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(Washington, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced a new On-the-Job Training (OJT) program designed to help support unemployed DC residents in their search for permanent employment. Modeled after the Department of Labor’s OJT program and funded with local dollars, the District will pay 90 percent of a participant’s salary during the training period up to $34 an hour and a maximum of $8,000 up to six months. The current federally-funded OJT program is due to expire on June 30, 2012.

“This is another part of our plan to connect unemployed DC residents with jobs and make it easier for employers to hire District residents,” Mayor Gray said. “The city’s initial investment in a locally-funded program will enable the Department of Employment Services (DOES) to assist hundreds of individuals to be trained in occupations that lead to sustainable, long-term employment. The new OJT program is in response to feedback received at our One City Summit and will help build a skilled workforce for the District’s growing economy, representing another element of the One City • One Hire initiative to get our residents back to work.”

In order to participate in the local OJT program, an individual must be an unemployed resident of the District of Columbia and a US citizen or possess valid US work authorization (e.g., unexpired work visa status or an employment authorization card).

“This is an employers’ market, so we need to ensure that unemployed District residents are trained to meet the needs of employers with jobs to fill,” said DOES Director Lisa María Mallory. “The new program DOES will administer will open up opportunities for more DC residents to find permanent work with employers throughout the metropolitan area and is another resource we have to get more unemployed District residents back to work.”

Businesses that participate in the OJT program must be in good standing with the District of Columbia and intend on retaining the OJT participants for an additional six months after completion of training, with the goal of long-term employment. The OJT employees must receive the same wages and benefits as those in comparable positions, and their training must be related to a specific career/occupational goal.

“Employers are going to save money on recruiting, screening, and training costs by joining us in this effort,” added Mallory. “DOES will provide employers with a comprehensive menu of services that will help them identify the best candidates for OJT to ensure it is a win-win for both the job seekers and the businesses alike.”