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Successful on-the-job training lands 22-year-old a golden opportunity

When seeking employment opportunities, job seekers become discouraged to find that employers oftentimes prefer candidates with years of experience in a particular field of work.

Upon reading the job’s qualifications, candidates can feel overwhelmed due to their lack of experience. However, a collaborative effort among leading workforce development entities is paving the way for on-the-job training opportunities for prospective job seekers.

AlabamaWorks, a network for the interconnected providers of the public workforce system is connecting job candidates to opportunities for hands-on training in fields that match their aptitude and interests.

As part of the Yellowhammer News Connect to your Future series, the following serves as an on-the-job training success story courtesy of series sponsor AlabamaWorks.

The On-The-Job Training (OJT) program, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and administered through the Alabama Department of Commerce, provides workers with opportunities to learn new job skills by enabling employers to train individuals while saving money.

Through the program, business service representatives with the Alabama Career Center System across the state connect employers to job seekers. If participants meet certain criteria and the employer opts to hire the candidate, the employer can save 50% of training costs covered by the program.

Yellowhammer News recently spoke with 22-year-old Jaydon Thomas, a new hire with Decatur-based TeamLogic IT, an information technology management firm. Upon coming across the program, Thomas swiftly decided that it was a golden opportunity.

“It was on-the-job training – it was my first IT job so I had to jump on it,” said Thomas.

After meeting with Thomas, the Montgomery Career Center made contact with TeamLogic IT and advised them on the potential employment opportunity. Upon interviewing Thomas, the firm decided he was the right fit.

Thomas heaped praise upon the program and the assistance he received from the Montgomery Career Center, which he asserted was eager to help him find employment in his field of preference.

While he held former classroom experience through earning an associate degree from Trenholm State Community College, Thomas had no prior IT workplace experience. However, the program enabled Thomas to receive training from his employer, which allowed him to gain invaluable hands-on training.

Thomas offered his advice to prospective job seekers who find themselves in the situation he faced. He reflected on his decision to join the program, indicating that it was one of the most consequential choices he has made which will be of long-term benefit.

“I would tell them join the program,” advised Thomas. “It’s so much support from the Career Center – they make sure you have everything you need, making sure the employers are teaching you everything you need to know to be successful in the company, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Larry Anderson, owner and senior engineer of TeamLogic IT, outlined his firm’s desire to grant opportunities to individuals which hold the potential to positively impact them in their careers for a lifetime.

“One of the goals within our company when we started was to really be a part of the community – and of course we want a successful business – but we wanted to bring people along and help them be successful,” Anderson told Yellowhammer News. “So, partnering with the Career Center gave us an opportunity to take on someone like Jaydon, who had some classroom experience, but to kind of bring him in and put an arm around him and to maybe teach him some practical application things and some real-life on-the-job training things within a program where they have some all-around support.”

Anderson was not sparing in touting the assistance he received from Montgomery Career Center business service representative Christina Holloway.

“Working with Ms. Christina, they were fantastic from the beginning,” noted Anderson. “She came to our office, sat down with us, explained the program to us, everything from how to fill out the paperwork to being an approved employer. She physically came out to make sure that we were legitimate, licensed and insured and that the employee would be put in a good environment. They did all their due diligence to make sure that it’s done the right way, which I really think sets the employee up for success.”

For Anderson, placing someone on an upward career trajectory is a rewarding aspect of the program which he suggested should be taken advantage of by all who are willing.

“I think at some point in our life we all had a start and in our lives we all have a story,” he added. “Somebody, somewhere along the way helped us get to where we are today. I think taking advantage of a program like this… the investment and the effort is worth it when you look at the total outcome because you’re helping someone that’s trying to find their way.”

Anderson concluded, “I would tell any employee or employer to take the time to invest in someone, especially in a program like this. I think it pays huge dividends in that not only do you get to have a great person that works on your team, but you also get to help them learn a skill they can use whether on your team or with another company.”

Thank you to our “Connect to your Future” sponsors: Alabama Power, AlabamaWorks and Manufacture Alabama for making this initiative possible.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL