Michelle Slaton, business engagement specialist for the PTRC Workforce Development Board

The Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC) Workforce Development Board helps employers gain the best homegrown talent the region has to offer by providing them with access to employee training, connecting them with community colleges and other resources within the educational system, and helping to prepare students in K-12 with the skills needed to succeed in today’s ever-changing and evolving work environment.

“Our goal is to connect good people with good jobs and good jobs with good people,” said Michelle Slaton, business engagement specialist for the PTRC Workforce Development Board. Slaton joined the PTRC Development Board in April and is assigned to Davie and Forsyth Counties. She serves as the first point of contact for employers in the region, providing a customized solution for their immediate needs and developing long-term strategies for their continuing success.

The PTRC Workforce Development Board can partner with businesses (Employers) in several ways. Slaton outlined three specific services: On-the-Job Training (OJT), Incumbent Worker Training and Work Experience (WEX) and how employers can identify individuals who might be a good fit for each service.

❖ On-the-Job Training is a viable pathway for workers seeking to transition to new, skilled employment. For employers, OJT offers the opportunity to offset initial training costs to fill skilled positions while building organizational productivity as the employee learns job duties.

  • OJT contracts are limited to the time required for the employee to become proficient in his/her job. An OJT program cannot exceed six months. Prior to hire, a business engagement specialist will develop an individualized training plan with the employer that will allow the new employee to gain the required competencies. Wage reimbursement is 50% of the trainee’s starting salary (minimum starting salary is $15 p/hour) with the maximum reimbursement per trainee capped at $4,000.
  • Who is the “Perfect Candidate” for an OJT? An employer should look for an individual who has some experience but a clearly identified “skills gap” from their previous experience to the identified position. In order to become fully competent in all the job skills of the position, a customized training plan is implemented that is multi-stepped and covers several months (no more than 6 months). It is important for an employer to consider that if an individual does not meet these criteria than the training plan cannot be justified and an OJT would not be a good fit.

❖ Incumbent Worker Training is a service that helps offset the cost of training employees who have worked for a business consistently for six months or more. The purpose of the Incumbent Worker Training Grant is to provide employees with an increased skill level so that employees can be promoted and the employer can backfill opportunities for less skilled or experienced employees.

❖ Work Experience (WEX) is targeted for 16-24-year-old candidates with no previous work experience. We offer WEX to employers as a way to enhance their recruitment efforts. This opportunity also allows the candidate to explore a career path and acquaint themselves with the field of their interest. If the experience yields positive results for the candidate and employer, our expectation is the employer will decide to hire the WEX candidate at the end of their assignment. These assignments typically last 8-12 weeks, no more than 32 hours per week, at a salary pre-determined by the employer and workforce board partner.

As she settles into her new role, Slaton plans to spend at least one day each week in Davie County getting to know the community and engaging with employers and workforce initiatives in order to gain a better perspective of the particular needs so that she can apply the Board’s resources to providing solutions.

“I have enjoyed learning more about Davie County and discovering how incredibly passionate the people who live here are about their community. It is really encouraging because community members are their own best advocates and the opportunity to be a supporting player for Davie County partnerships and initiatives is exciting.”

To find out how the PTRC Workforce Development Board can help your business, contact Slaton at  (336) 904-0300 or mslaton@ptrc.org or visit www.ptrc.org.

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