Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

In today’s column, I’m happy to share news about an on-the-job training program that actually reimburses employers for up to half of the wages of new employees undergoing training as they acclimate to their new jobs.

“This program is a win-win situation for both job seekers and employers,” says Ron Silko of Pennsylvania CareerLink Adams County. “It doesn’t cost businesses anything; CareerLink brings money to the table.”

Here’s how the program works: The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) provides federal funding to businesses—up to 50 percent of an employee’s wages for a set time period, up to six months, to offset the cost of hiring and training that new employee (up to $5,500). Businesses are encouraged to contact Silko, register for the program, and when an on-the-job training (OJT) situation arises, the business will receive reimbursement when they help a new hire meet a skills gap.

One Adams County company that has recently taken advantage of the program is Graphcom, a printing and marketing firm located on Chambersburg Road.

“It takes an enormous amount of resources (time, money, other staff) to train new employees. Especially for smaller businesses, these resources aren’t always available. With the WIOA OJT program helping to offset these training costs, it really allows us the ability to properly acclimate and train a new employee without trying to rush their learning and development of skills along for financial reasons. This helps the employee and the employer immensely,” says Mari Koons, HR Manager at Graphcom.

She says Graphcom hired a new employee in February utilizing the WIOA OJT program and “he’s been a great fit with the company” and “I appreciate the partnership with our advisor Ron Silko who guided us through the process.”

Koons encourages Adams County employers to look into the program. “It requires very little paperwork and the business representatives are very helpful in the entire process. Even if you already have a candidate in mind, they might be eligible for the on-the-job training program. I highly recommend this program to all local employers,” Koons says.

Silko says the program works “as a two-way street,” meaning it can be triggered by a business interested in making a new hire, or the process can begin by a potential new employee coming into CareerLink looking for work and discovering an employer listed in the database as WIOA-qualified.

To contact Ron Silko at PA CareerLink Adams County, call 717-334-1173, x300 or email him at [email protected].