On Monday, he announced the On-the-Job Training Act of 2014 to authorize the Department of Labor to award competitive grants to establish and support local on-the-job training programs, which have a proven track record of helping unemployed workers gain new skills to find and retain employment.
Research has shown that training programs carried out directly by employers or colleagues at the place of employment are the most effective way to train new employees and maximize productivity.
According to the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, in 2011 more than 80 percent of on-the-job training participants still had their jobs after nine months. Yet, despite the program’s effectiveness and high employer interest, it has yet to reach its full potential.
“On-the-job training programs are a win-win,” Crowley said. “Workers have the opportunity to gain new skills and employers are able to hire employees with the specific expertise they need.”
The legislation also expands the program to include a broader range of participants, including cities, school districts, colleges and industry associations. Applicants are able to tailor their programs to achieve specific goals, such as serving long-termed unemployed or training workers in targeted fields, like green technology.
Many people have given up looking for work because they feel there aren’t opportunities, Crowley said.
“Preparing workers for the jobs of tomorrow means investing in training them today,” Crowley said. “As our economy continues to recover, workers must adapt to a changing job market. My bill builds on the proven success of on-the-job training programs, helping more job-seekers gain new skills to find and retain employment, while encouraging businesses to hire.”
Crowley was joined at the announcement by Angel Pineiro, Jr., senior vice president of ASI System Integration, who spoke about how this legislation would help business leaders like him find and employ skilled workers.
In his role at ASI, Piñeiro has worked closely with New York City Public Schools to help train graduates for jobs in the growing IT field.
“A workforce development program without on-the-job training is like a classroom without a teacher,” Pineiro said. “On-the-job training provides the best instruction directly by the employer based on its specific needs.”
Vivian Scott went throught the ASI program. After breaking her leg while working as an elevator mechanic, Scott wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. She saw an advertisement for ASI and reached out to them. She didn’t know much about computers, but she worked hard and was determined to do well.
“It changed my life,” she said.
Twelve years later, she is a manager with 70 people working under her.
“I felt that I had a chance to start all over again,” Scott said. “I work because it worked for me and I want to give it to someone else.”