The Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC) is offering $30,000 in hiring incentives to Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum County employers in an effort to spur hiring by Jun. 30 of the long-term unemployed.
The hiring incentive, called the On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program, is designed to help offset training costs incurred by employers when new employees are hired.To be eligible, employers must hire applicants who are unemployed, with priority going to those who have been unemployed for longer than five months. The five most common occupational backgrounds of the Southwest Washington unemployed workforce are in office and administration, production, sales, construction, and management.
“The March unemployment rate for the tri-county area still remains very high at 11.1 percent,” says Jeanne Bennett, Executive Director of the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council. “That translates into 29,070 of our residents without jobs, many who have fallen off the radar due to expired unemployment benefits.”
Bennett reports that on average job seekers search more than five months to find employment. “With economists predicting a sluggish recovery, we must exhaust every means possible to make it easier for employers to help get our people back to work.”
The hiring incentives are funded by the SWWDC through the Workforce Investment Act and administered by WorkSource, a statewide partnership of agencies connecting job seekers with local employers.
Since the OJT funds became available in July 1, 2011, only 24 employers in the tri-county area have taken advantage of the program. The employers who have utilized OJT, particularly small businesses, have found the incentive to be a welcome relief to help reduce the high costs of employment, which include wages, benefits, taxes, and training.
Employers actively recruiting permanent hires in the next 30 days that are interested in taking advantage of these limited funds should contact Darcy Hoffman, SW WA Business Liaison, at WorkSource Business Services by Friday, May 11, 2012.
Darcy Hoffman, (360) 735-5038, email DHoffman@esd.wa.gov.