KENNEWICK -- When Badger Mountain Family Medicine hired a new medical receptionist, WorkSource Columbia Basin helped support the new employee while she was in training.
The Richland family practice was reimbursed for some of her wages, and office manager Sherry Sandvig said the clinic ended up with someone willing to go above and beyond for the job.
WorkSource Columbia Basin is looking for more employers like Badger Mountain Family Medicine willing to participate in the On the Job Training program.
The Benton-Franklin Workforce Development Council recently received a grant from Gov. Chris Gregoire's 10 percent discretionary funds from the federal Workforce Investment Act.
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Gregoire specifically dedicated the money to help with On the Job Training for youth and veterans -- two groups experiencing higher unemployment rates than the rest of the Tri-City work force, said Kayci Loftus, Workforce Investment Act operations manager at WorkSource Columbia Basin.
Loftus said an additional $15,000 for the program has been received through the grant, and more may be coming.
The program is designed to help support employers willing to hire job seekers who need additional training, Loftus said. An employer can be reimbursed up to 50 percent of the employees' wages while they are in training.
The program, funded under the Workforce Investment Act starting in 2000, helps job seekers compete for jobs without having to seek more formal education, she said.
Loftus said those who hire veterans can receive an additional incentive of a $9,600 federal tax credit per veteran under the new VOW to Hire Heroes Act that went into effect Dec. 1.
Loftus said they can recruit specifically for employers who contact them. There may be a young adult aged 17 to 21, or a veteran already receiving services from a program at WorkSource Columbia Basin who would be a good fit.
About 200 young adults already receive help from at least one Workforce Investment Act program, she said.
And WorkSource Columbia Basin has helped 324 veterans in the last month.
"We are willing to work with an employer in any way to meet their need," Loftus said.
Sandvig of Badger Mountain Family Medicine said WorkSource Columbia Basin contacted her after she interviewed one of their clients.
While the new employee was being training, Sandvig said WorkSource Columbia Basin staff checked in to see how the new hire was doing.
Amanda Williams of Kennewick found out about the On the Job Training program while on unemployment.
When she interviewed for the bookkeeper position with Chiropractic Care of Richland, she said WorkSource Columbia Basin sent a cover letter with her explaining her qualifications and the option for reimbursement for training on the job.
Williams said that helped her get a job shortly after she received her associate degree in accounting from Columbia Basin College in August.
She was unemployed for about two years before she was hired by Chiropractic Care in September.
Lynn Daggett, Chiropractic Care office manager, said Williams had all the skills the office sought. While the office would have been able to hire her without the incentive, it did help to have it offered, she said.
They set up a list of expectations for her first two months, Daggett said.
And Williams said she ended up with a full-time job she enjoys.
Employers interested in the On the Job Training program should call Sheila Barichello at 734-5880 or Kayci Loftus at 734-5919.
-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; email@example.com