What is On-the-Job Experience (OJE) for Older Adults?

On-the-Job Experience (OJE) is part of the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). To understand OJE, you must first understand how SCSEP works.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Ohio Department of Aging, VANTAGE Aging’s SCSEP program promotes the self-sufficiency of older workers. We provide paid, on-the-job training to low-income individuals aged 55 and older in 38 Ohio counties.

Job training takes place at community-based and government agencies, which are able to build their capacity with SCSEP support. SCSEP participants work an average of 20 hours per week and earn the current minimum wage while improving job readiness.

By connecting older job seekers with training opportunities, we can all make a positive financial and emotional difference in the lives of thousands of people.

What is On-the-Job Experience (OJE)?

On-the-Job Experience, or OJE, is a unique option within the Senior Community Service Employment Program. The OJE program aims to help older adults find unsubsidized employment and gain financial stability and independence.

Individuals who are actively participating in SCSEP can be assigned to an OJE position. An On-the-Job Experience is a short-term job training opportunity with an organization in need of additional staff members.

Before On-the-Job Experience begins, the employer, VANTAGE Aging, and the participant agree on a training time period and pay rate. Training is between 2 and 12 weeks, but the average time period is 2-6 weeks. Unlike traditional SCSEP participation, OJE participants can work up to 40 hours per week. OJE participants earn the open position’s rate, which is usually more than the minimum wage.

If the participant meets the employer’s expectations at the end of their OJE training period, the employer hires them. If the participant is not hired, they return to their SCSEP host agency and continue with the SCSEP program.

How does OJE work?

On-the-Job Experience is a part of the Senior Community Service Employment Program. Here is how OJE works:

1. A person enrolls as a SCSEP participant.
2. The person is matched with an OJE training site. A one-page agreement is signed with a predefined training period length.
3. If the participant meets the employer’s expectations, they are hired as a permanent employee.
4. If the participant is not hired, they return to their host site and continue as a SCSEP participant.

How do participants benefit from OJE?

For older job seekers struggling to find employment, there are many benefits to participating in On-the-Job Experience. OJE can help you fill skill gaps that make it difficult for you to get hired. A paid training experience allows you to earn while you learn, bringing you closer to reaching your career goals.

The important thing to remember about On-the-Job Experience that it is more than just a temporary job. OJE is a training program, not a trial period. During your OJE, you are not on your own. Someone will provide training throughout your On-the-Job Experience. VANTAGE also conducts visits to make sure you stay on track.

If you do well during your OJE training, you are often hired as an employee at your OJE training site. As a successful SCSEP participant, you can move on to full-time work using the skills you gained while in the program.

What do employers need to know about OJE?

As an OJE employer, you can vet skilled and dedicated candidates during a training period prior to hiring. VANTAGE matches individuals in the program to your organization’s specific needs. OJE is a great opportunity for small businesses who want to grow with a proficient and reliable staff.

OJE and SCSEP employers provide job skill training. You can tailor your training administration to best fit your workforce needs. When an individual completes On-the-Job Experience, they are ready to be fully contributing team members at your organization.

VANTAGE pays wages during On-the-Job Experience. As an employer, you can focus on getting the participant familiar with the position’s requirements and company culture, rather than worrying about lost productivity that comes with onboarding.

OJE participants could be a vital resource for your organization. Here are the most important things you should know about being an OJE employer:

  • Employers must assist with training.
  • Active host sites are not eligible to participate in OJE.
  • You sign a simple, one-page contract.
  • Common positions include retail, clerical, janitorial, and healthcare.
  • OJE participants cannot work over 40 hours per week while in the program.

    How do I get involved?

    Getting involved with On-the-Job Experience is simple. Those who want to have an On-the-Job Experience must first be enrolled in SCSEP. If you are interested in becoming a SCSEP participant or you are a SCSEP participant who is interested in OJE, contact VANTAGE Aging.

    If you are an employer who wants to be an On-the-Job Experience training site, you must NOT be a SCSEP host site. You cannot have both SCSEP and OJE participants at your organization. To get started as an OJE employer, contact VANTAGE Workforce Solutions. Use the map on this page to call or email your VANTAGE office.

    For all OJE and VANTAGE Workforce Solutions questions, please feel free to call our headquarters at 330-253-4597, toll-free 1-800-554-5335. You can find all Ohio counties served by VANTAGE Workforce Solutions here.

    This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the recipient and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracyof the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it.

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