On-the-Job Training (OJT) occurs when DARS pays an employer to train a consumer that has been hired in a competitive integrated employment setting. The employer trains the consumer in the skills necessary to perform both essential and non-essential job duties. The training specifications are stated on the DARS OJT Worksheet and are entered into a service authorization in ReHabWorks.
OJT that is paid partially or totally by DARS cannot be counted toward the 90 days of employment required for successful closure. The date of employment must follow the date of OJT completion.
OJT occurs in a work setting and provides specific skills and knowledge related to that occupation.
On-the-Job Training (OJT) is a way to help consumers build their skills and re-establish employment when they have a history of limited skills, limited work history, unemployment, legal issues, or incarceration. OJT can be used as a hiring incentive for employers while helping consumers overcome their employment barrier(s).
The United States Department of Labor offers the Federal Bonding Program, which helps hard-to-place job applicants (for example, recovering substance abusers, ex-offenders, and people in debt) find jobs by providing employers no-cost insurance against employee dishonesty.
OJT may be offered to consumers to:
On-the-Job Training (OJT) has the flexibility to be:
The length of OJT depends on the skills to be learned and the consumer's learning capacity and aptitude. If the training is longer than three months, field director, supervisor, or coordinator approval is required, and approval must be documented in a ReHabWorks case note. A field director, supervisor, or coordinator considers the following factors when deciding to increase the length of the OJT:
The above list is not inclusive. The vocational rehabilitation counselor should contact the regional or state program specialist assigned to OJT, as necessary, to discuss the appropriateness of extending the length of an OJT beyond three months.
The following vocational rehabilitation services cannot be purchased when a consumer is receiving OJT services:
OJT is a substantial service. Time spent in OJT cannot be counted toward the 90 days of employment required for a successful closure. The start date of employment entered to ReHabWorks must be after the completion date of OJT.
On-the-Job Training is a useful marketing tool for the vocational rehabilitation counselor to use when recruiting businesses and developing job opportunities for consumers. It can be used and promoted with other marketing strategies.
The employer benefits of On-the-Job Training include the opportunity for employers to learn the:
Approval from the Field Director is needed when OJT includes
Note: Approval may be sought by justifying the OJT plan in a memo sent to your immediate supervisor.
Equipment may be purchased for a consumer's OJT if:
Note: All equipment purchased for OJT will remain the property of the Division for Blind Services.
When developing On-the-Job Training (OJT) agreements with an employer, the counselor uses the OJT Worksheet to address the areas of authorized services and the outcomes that are required for payment.
DARS can pay OJT fees to the employer for:
Training fees paid to the business cannot be more than $5,000. Because of requirements in Texas Administrative Code, this amount may not be overridden by any level of management.
OJT employer payments are based on a sliding scale and on the size of the business at the worksite where the training takes place. Employer payments are based on the following number of employees:
A field director may approve a higher percentage of reimbursement, but the total reimbursement for the OJT may not be greater than $5,000.
Examples of when paying a higher percentage is acceptable include:
The field director is required to document in a ReHabWorks case note the reason for the higher percentage of reimbursement.
DARS must negotiate a payment schedule that progressively decreases throughout the training period as the consumer's skills increase. See examples in the DRS Counselor Toolbox.
The employer is not allowed to use the training fee as payment to the consumer for wages or compensation.
The steps below must be followed for the employer to received payment for OJT. The DARS3316, On-the-Job Training Progress Report and an invoice must be submitted each time the business invoices DARS for payment of the consumer's OJT program or at a minimum of every 30 days of the program. The due dates must be included in the service authorization specifications.
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
When a vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) and a consumer determine that On-the-Job Training (OJT) is appropriate, the VRC must prepare the consumer before the VRC contacts potential employers. Ensure that the consumer is ready for the job by emphasizing such areas as attendance, transportation, work rules, work culture, work standards of conduct, and basic labor market information about the occupation and industry. The VRC should review Chapter 14: Employment Assistance, 14.5 Job Readiness Criteria, to find out whether the consumer needs additional support and training or if he or she is ready to pursue OJT as an option (based on 34 §361.32).
The VRC should identify a business that will participate in the OJT program and that will hire the consumer.
DARS staff members educate the business that is hiring the consumer about DARS' expectations related to participation in the OJT program.
Note: OJT may be used for trial work experiences for persons with significant disabilities before it is determined that a person with a disability is incapable of benefiting from vocational rehabilitation services. When using OJT as a trial work experience for assessment purposes, the consumer does not have to be ready for a job (based on 34 CFR §361.42).
Once the business agrees to provide OJT:
A DARS staff member other than the VRC may enter the OJT Worksheet information into the service authorization.
The VRC must visit the business site stated on the service authorization to evaluate the success of the OJT. Each site visit must be documented in a case note in ReHabWorks.
On-the-Job Trainings (OJT) can be funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) if a consumer is jointly served by DARS and by the local workforce board. The local workforce board offers OJT programs. Using a WIOA-funded OJT is a comparable benefit and should be documented in ReHabWorks; however, not all workforce boards in Texas offer OJT. Contact the business relations specialist serving your region or the DARS representative serving on the workforce board, if any, for additional information.
OJT opportunities can be developed using the same business development techniques used in regular placement. OJT is a service that businesses can use to offset additional training costs they may incur from hiring a consumer. For more information, see Chapter 42: DARS Business Relations.