What is Ready to Work Ohio? Ready to Work Ohio is a workforce development program operated by WSOS, Community Action Commission in northwest Ohio with grant funding provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program assists long-term unemployed/under-employed, unemployed veterans and unemployed spouses of veterans get back to work in one of four in-demand industries including the following: medical services, information technology, advanced manufacturing or environmental services.
Each person is assessed and assisted by a career coach serving their county of residence to develop an action plan, which includes up to two years of training that results in an industry recognized credential, on-the-job training opportunities and/or direct job placement. These services are available at little or no-cost to the participant, which in most cases means free tuition. Funds are also available for required supportive services including books, equipment, work clothing and even transportation.
How does the program work? Individuals who are approved for the program and would like to attend a post-secondary school will apply for admissions at the learning institution of their choice, complete the institution’s assessment tests (typically the COMPASS test) and enroll in classes as any other student would. The only difference is that students will work directly with a career coach continually until they are placed long-term with an employer.
Those accepted into the program that are already trained or just have not been able to find employment will take some assessment tests to help their career coach determine the best course of action to employ the individual. Assessment tests could include TABE testing for remedial education and career placement.
Career coaches will work each individual on each part of the job placement process including course enrollment, course completion, resume building, interview prep, soft skills training, networking and acclimation to a new position. Throughout the process, the career coach is there for moral and financial support.
Who is eligible? The program is open for application to residents of 17 northwest Ohio counties including the following: Allen, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Hardin, Hancock, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot. In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must be long-term unemployed (27 weeks or greater), long-term underemployed*, an unemployed veteran or unemployed spouse of veteran. Veterans and spouses of veterans are only required to be unemployed for one day before they are eligible for the program.
*long-term underemployed includes individuals who may have not yet reconnected with a full-time job equal with the individuals level of education, skills, and previous wage or salary earned prior to the individual’s loss of permanent employment
What does the program cost? There is no cost to enroll in the program and typically the participant receives all program services including tuition at no cost. Occasionally the training program chosen by the participant for a particular occupation exceeds the budgetary allotment guidelines and other payment arrangements are required outside of the grant. In these cases, all options are discussed with the participant prior to enrollment in a training program.
If a person is unemployed do they automatically qualify? No, a person must meet the eligibility criteria and complete the admissions process before they can qualify for the program. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us.
What if a person just lost their job yesterday? Unless they are a veteran or spouse of a veteran, they would not be eligible for the Ready to Work program; however, a career coach could recommend some other resources while they’re searching for employment. The career coach will check in with them on occasion to see how they are doing. If they are still unemployed or are under-employed after 27 weeks, they could be enrolled in the program.
Can current students be enrolled in the program? As long as they meet eligibility requirements, current students can apply for the program.
What if a participant already has training in one of the approved grant occupations, but cannot find employment? A career coach can work with any individual on job readiness activities or establish an on-the-job training opportunity so a participant can receive training, while gaining experience in the industry. Participants also have the option to be placed directly with an employer without using other grant services first.
What documents are required at the interview/enrollment meeting(s)? To enroll in the Ready to Work program the applicant will need to bring proof of their unemployment such as an old paystub from their previous employer, W2, copy of their tax records, a statement on letterhead from their previous employer, unemployment compensation, or any other document verifying previous employment status.
Career coaches will also need two forms of state issued ID for the participant such as a driver’s license and social security card. Residency must be verified with a utility bill, bank statement or vehicle registration. If available, males should bring their selective service number. Veterans or spouses of veterans should bring a DD214 or other proof of their veteran status.
We also ask that you bring your most recent resume and a copy of any degrees or certifications you may have already earned.
Are participants required to meet with their career coach? Yes, in order for a participant to continue to receive program benefits including funding for training programs, the participant must meet with their career coach on a regular basis. Continually skipping or missing meetings will put the participant at risk of being removed from the program.
Do participants owe any taxes on funds used to pay for program participation? The only taxes a participant will owe would be from any pay or incentive checks received from the program or employer. All other funding received through the program is not taxable.
POST SECONDARY EDUCATION QUESTIONS
What is the COMPASS test? The COMPASS test is a computerized assessment and placement test that covers basic skill areas in writing, reading and mathematics. You are not rewarded or penalized for your scores on the COMPASS Assessment; it is just one of the many tools that a career coach will use to help a participant register for classes.
Do participants need any pre-requisites? The Ready to Work program is unique in the fact that you can use tuition assistance towards any program that meets the industry criteria of the grant. A participant’s career coach will guide them through the process of identifying any specific classes they need to take to successfully complete the program. Funding is only available for two years total, so, someone without any post-secondary education may not be able to receive a four-year bachelor’s degree.
Do participants have to attend one of the listed partner institutions? No, it is not required to attend one of the Ready to Work partner institutions. Click here for a list of some of the higher learning institutions we’re already working with. (Link to Where can I receive training)
Can a participant take coursework that does not fall under one of the four approved tracks? Unfortunately no, the Ready to Work grant from the U.S. Department of Labor was created to target specific in-demand industries. For a complete listing of pre-approved programs click here. (link to Courses Offered)
Can a participant take a program that is not listed on the pre-approved list? Yes, it is possible to take a program that has not already been pre-approved. A copy of the course curriculum will be required to authorize the program for payment assistance through Ready to Work. The copy may be submitted to a Ready to Work staff member to be processed for approval.
How much will the grant pay for a participant’s post-secondary program? The amount the grant will pay for each participant’s tuition will vary by program and occupation. Typically the grant can pay for the full amount of the training program. Occasionally, a particular program exceeds the budgetary allotment for the occupation training and other arrangements are necessary to cover the full cost of the training. The participant and career coach will discuss all payment requirements prior to the participant enrolling in classes.
What happens if a participant does not pass or show up for class? Your career coach will be in contact with your learning institution after enrollment to develop a relationship with your instructors and/or advisor. This relationship ensures open communication between all parties and hopefully prevents course failure and elimination of barriers so participants can reliably attend classes. If the situation progresses and a participant fails or doesn’t show up for class, they are at risk of being removed from the Ready to Work program or learning institution. In all cases, participants must abide by the learning institution’s rules and regulations.
After a participant graduates, will the grant cover additional training programs for the same person? The Ready to Work program can pay for up to two years of training for one of the grant’s approved occupations. If a participant completes a training program in less than two years and requires additional training to get a job in the approved occupation track the participant chose, the grant will continue to fund the participant’s education for up to two years. If the participant has reached the two year mark on their training, they are not eligible for additional training program funds through Ready to Work.
ON-THE-JOB TRAINING QUESTIONS
What is an on-the-job training? Most people learn something better by physically doing it rather than reading or studying it. On-the-job trainings provide people the opportunity to learn while they physically do the job and gain experience. Ready to Work Ohio pays an employer 50% of a participant’s wages up to $2,500 to train the participant in one of the occupations (link to the occupations page) covered by the grant.
What is the process to get an on-the-job training? A participant’s career coach works one-on-one with the employer to establish an agreement on the participant’s pay, training and length of employment. Once all parties agree, the participant is employed and paid by the employer. Upon completion of the training, the employer will complete a short form and submit an invoice to WSOS for payment.
How do participants qualify for an on-the-job training? A Ready to Work participant will be assessed and placed in an on-the-job training that matched their current skills either before or after a post-secondary training program is completed. The participant must meet all the position requirements and agree to the job description just like any other employment position.
Are all on-the-job training positions full-time? No, some positions can be part-time. The career coach, participant and employer will decide the training agreement specifics including position, training topics, length of time and hours.
What if a participant quits, doesn’t show up for work or is fired? Hopefully open communication between the participant, employer and Ready to Work career coach will prevent any possible problems. If the situation progresses and the participant’s on-the-job agreement is broken, they are at risk of being removed from the program. In all cases, participants must abide by the employer’s rules and regulations.
DIRECT JOB PLACEMENT AND FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS
What is a direct job placement? Job placement occurs when a Ready to Work participant is placed for long-term employment in one of the grant covered occupations (link to Occupations page) with an employer.
Do participants need to take a post-secondary course before being placed with an employer? No, if a participant already has the skills and education required for one of the grant’s approved occupations, the career coach will concentrate on placing the participant with an employer directly.
Are all job placements full time positions? No, occasionally a participant is placed in a part-time position if it is in the best interest of the participant. Industry standards vary on the number of hours worked in any given occupation.
Will a participant be placed with a temp-agency? Some employers require a period of temporary employment before hiring an employee onto their payroll. Ready to Work Ohio does not consider temporary employment a long-term placement for the grant and will continue working with the participant until they are hired on by the employer directly.