Building the NExt Generation OJT Toolkit

ARRA On-the-Job Training (OJT) National Emergency Grant (NEG) Requirement


Basic Eligibility: Dislocated Worker as defined in WIA Section 101(9)

Dislocated workers whose layoffs have occurred since the onset of the recent recession (January 1, 2008) may be considered to be unlikely to return to their previous industry or occupation for purposes of eligibility determination.

Within the Eligible Population, Pay Special Attention to:

  • Areas that have been disproportionately impacted by the current recession and have the highest levels of poverty and the lowest employment to population ratio;
  • Populations with the greatest barriers to employment, including individuals experiencing prolonged unemployment; and
  • Workers from those industry sectors that experienced high rates of job loss during the recession; such as construction, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and administrative and support services.
  • OJT opportunities must be in the private and private non-profit sectors; no OJT opportunities may be created in the public sector.
  • OJT opportunities are prohibited at casinos or other gambling establishments, swimming pools, aquariums, zoos and golf courses.
Wage Cap and Reimbursement Rates:

For the purposes of these OJT NEG grants, ETA has established a wage cap policy that the training reimbursement level is not to exceed a percentage (typically 50% up to 90%) of the state’s average hourly wage rate. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for 2009 is available on the OJT NEG dedicated website (Questions and Answers

Grantees may enter into contracts with employers who elect to pay participants more than the state average wage; however, the employer cannot receive a training reimbursement beyond a percentage (50% up to 90%) of the capped level.

Regardless of reimbursement rate, the OJT participant must be compensated at the same rate as trainees or employees who are similarly situated in similar occupations by the same employer and who have similar training, experience, and skills (Sec. WIA 181(a)(1)(A)).

The reimbursement rate may be based on:

  • Employer size = based on size of employment at local operation
    • 1-50 employees – up to 90 percent reimbursement
    • 51-250 employees – up to 75 percent reimbursement
    • 251 and more employees – up to 50 percent reimbursement
  • Skill Gap = the gap between the participant’s initial skill level and the skill level needed for full performance of the job
    • Scale established by state policy
    • Policy must incorporate use of recognized skill assessment tools

For each participant, the reimbursement rate can be based on either employer size or the gap between the participant’s initial skill level and the skill level needed to perform the job.

Duration of OJT:
  • Training duration should be appropriate to the occupation and skill development needs of the participant.
  • Training duration for these grants may not exceed six months.
Collaboration with Community Based Organization:

Establish collaborative partnerships that will contribute to and support the creation of OJT opportunities. It is the Department’s expectation that, where possible, community-based organizations (CBOs) will be utilized to recruit participants and identify OJT opportunities.

Credential Requirement:

OJT opportunities financed through the OJT NEG are exempt from the WIA credential measure. However, where possible, ETA encourages grantees to consider OJTs that lead to industry recognized credentials.

Additional Information:

For additional information on OJT NEGs, please visit the official Department of Labor On-The-Job Training National Emergency Grants web page.