BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) is looking to help put New Yorkers back to work and improve their skills through on-the-job-training programs.
On Feb. 24, Crowley announced the On-the-Job-Training Act of 2014 with Angel Pineiro Jr., senior vice president at ASI System Integration, Inc., a technology solutions provider based out of New York, and Vivian Scott, a manager at ASI, at the Queens Community House in Jackson Heights.
Crowley said the bill combines training and employment.
“It allows workers to earn the skills they need while holding a good paying job,” he said. “It also allows businesses to get employees with specific skills. In other words, it is a win-win.”
Research has shown that OJT 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, Crowley said.
According to the Dept. of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, in 2011, more than 80 percent of OJT 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.
Crowley noted that many workers have given up looking for work because they need to learn new skills. He said it is imperative a grant program that connects unemployed workers with jobs and provide employers with training subsidies is set up.
“In exchange, the participating businesses will get half the worker’s wage while they are in training,” he added. “Not only is this a great way to put people back to work, but it gives applicants some money to defray the cost of setting up the program. It also helps to close the skills gap.”
Pineiro said since their company runs a successful workforce development program, their company’s competitive edge is in turn their technicians.
He said their company runs a similar program to that of the sponsored legislation, which includes a 90-day training process plus another 90-day internship period.
“During the first six months of employment, they are basically being trained on how to perform in the business of engineering and PC repair work,” Pineiro said. “They go through specific training, they get certified and they get the skills they need in order for that individual to be successful”
Passing the On-the-Job-Training Act would further help employers like ASI, Pineiro said.
“The on-the-job-training program allows employers like ourselves to offset some of that cost and by doing that, it allows us to continue that program,” he said.
Scott said since she participated in the workforce development program that ASI offers to all of its incoming employers, she was able to gain the skill set she needed to become a technician, a supervisor and now a manager.
“It changed my life,” she said. “I now make a salary that allows me to live where I want to live,” she said.
Crowley’s On-the-Job Training Act has been endorsed by a wide array of organizations dedicated to promoting effective employment policy, including the National Skills Coalition, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13.