Back to Work Oregon (BTWO)
In the fall of 2011, Oregon’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent. There were 30,400 job openings in Oregon and 175,100 Oregonians looking for work. At the same time, many companies indicated they had a hard time finding workers with the right skills.
The Back to Work Oregon (BTWO) program was one of five job creation strategies, launched in 2011, to get Oregon’s economy back on track. The program consists of two components:
On-the-Job Training (OJT): A “hire-first” program that reimburses a company for the cost of training a new employee. A rigorous training plan is put in place by the company which leads to employee retention in the job. The employee becomes a taxpayer by drawing a paycheck during training and beyond.
Oregon’s National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC): Certification that demonstrates an individual has the foundational workplace skills necessary to succeed in the training plan and on the job, and provides the individual with a national portable credential for future career growth.
Since its inception, the program has been resourced with $9.2 million from the Oregon Legislature, matched by Oregon’s Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs), and supported by the Oregon Employment Department. For every OJT opportunity funded with state general funds, the LWIBs have leveraged funds to contribute a one-to-one match.
BTWO Making an Impact
From July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015, 1381 state funded OJTs have been completed which has been matched by the LWIBs with an additional 1,019 OJTs. This is a total of 2,400 Oregonians into OJTs.
Of the total OJTs completed, more than 65% of participants have earned a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). Currently, the average wage for the OJT participants is $14.48 per hour.
Since 2011, Oregon businesses that have provided OJT opportunities for Oregonians totals approximately 1,973. Manufacturing firms have provided the largest number of OJTs, representing about a third of total participation businesses.
Other top industries providing OJT opportunities include Health Care and Social Assistance, Construction, and Administrative, Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services.