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Grant helps train unemployed

Posted: March 30, 2012 - 3:05pm

Twitter @ValerieRowell

In a tough economy, a federal grant helps businesses find, train and finance new employees.

Productive employees are essential to a profitable business and the National Emergency Grant for On-The-Job Training is helping to place and train the unemployed in businesses that need skilled workers.

The East Central Georgia Consortium – One Stop, which distributes the grant, recently placed a Columbia County woman, formerly a homemaker, with an Augusta business.

The grant helps businesses subsidize the cost of training a new employee by paying up to 90 percent of that new worker’s salary for up to 480 hours.

“We don’t actually do the training,” said Carrie Lokey, a consortium Job Development Specialist. “Instead, it helps business owners, helps them grow that person in their business, find an employee that will stay with them for a while.”

Bill Phillips, owner of the Augusta business Countersync, said in December that his new employee is working out well as she nears the end of her training period.

Having some government assistance paying for his new employee was extremely helpful.

“And if things don’t work out, (not much is lost),” Phillips said.

The consortium uses the grant to match people who have been unemployed for at least 16 weeks with an employer. They must be receiving or have exhausted unemployment benefits or be a “displaced homemaker,” a former homemaker forced back into the workforce because the head of the household was laid off.

Businesses with no lay-offs in at least four months can fill an open position with a trainee and receive up to 90 percent of a trainee’s salary for the training time of 200-480 hours.

“It’s a win-win,” Lokey said. “In this economy, it helps someone who is long-term unemployed go back to work. It helps the business owner. ... Even if the employee isn’t the best fit, they are still going to walk away with some new skills.”

Those interested in applying to be placed in a training position through the program must live in the 12-county region served by the consortium, including Columbia, Richmond and McDuffie counties.

“The (unspent) money has to be sent back to the federal government on July 1, 2012,” Lokey said. “Our goal is to have everybody enrolled in the program by the end of March.”

Any interested employer or potential employee can contact the consortium at (706) 595-8941 or visit www.ecgwdc.org.

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