Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Wednesday another jobs program designed to get the city’s unemployed residents back to work.
The new On-the-Job Training program, dubbed OJT, will supplement 90 percent of the salaries of participants while they are trained at private companies. The amount is limited to $34 an hour and to $8,000 per employee up to six months.
Lisa Mallory, director of the Department of Employment Services, said the city is recruiting employers for the program. She and the mayor made the announcement at his bi-weekly news conference, which was held at DOES headquarters in Northeast.
At the news conference, they touted participation from convenience store giant 7-Eleven, regional contractor M.C. Dean and local firms, such as Gelberg Signs and L.S. Caldwell & Associates, a small company that specializes in compliance issues. “These are individuals who have stepped up to the plate as of yesterday,” Mallory said.
Chief executive Loretta Caldwell said monitoring companies for contracting and employment compliance is a cottage industry. Her firm can train people, and training takes three to six months. “There is indeed a cost to that,” she said.
Mallory said the program, modeled after a similar one at the U.S. Department of Labor, will be more streamlined to make employers’ participation easier.
Gray said he expects companies to come forward because the city government is building a better reputation in the area of workforce development. “There were a lot of employers suspect of the government in the past,” he said, adding that the city government is doing a better job of reimbursing companies and recruiting unemployed residents to participate.
In September, DOES launched the ambitious One City One Hire initiative, which is aiming to match 10,000 unemployed residents with jobs in the private sector.
For the OJT program, participants must be unemployed D.C. residents and be U.S. citizens or have work authorization.