Partnership to help Milford businesses get federal training funds

OJT Associates partners with the Milford Chamber of Commerce to help businesses access On The Job Training funds, a federal program funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Pictured from left are Brian, Steve and Pete Lett.

OJT Associates partners with the Milford Chamber of Commerce to help businesses access On The Job Training funds, a federal program funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Pictured from left are Brian, Steve and Pete Lett.

OJT Associates /Contributed

MILFORD — A new partnership has formed between the Milford Chamber of Commerce and OJT Associates.

OJT Associates works with small and midsize businesses to help them access On The Job Training Funds, a federal program funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

“The application process, when you are working with a government agency, can be tedious and bureaucratic, so we help bridge the gap and allow those smaller companies to access those funds,” said Pete Lett, of OJT Associates. “Those funds are out there, and they are allocated in the OJT budget, so if they don’t get used on companies to hire and train people, they are going to get used somewhere else.”

The funds help companies with reimbursement for salary as well as some training expenses they might incur bringing on an employee requiring training.

Steve Lett, of OJT Associates, said he recently had a catch-up call with his longtime friend Michael Moses, Milford Chamber of Commerce president.

“I was telling him a business that we were starting through the department of labor wheel, and he told me it sounded interesting,” he said, adding that Moses then suggested a partnership with the chamber.

“Frankly, I had not even thought about chambers of commerce being a potential sales channel for OJT,” he said. “When he explained what his membership consists of and the diversity of the company sizes and market it sounded like a good idea.”

Moses said OJT Associates will provide chamber members access, with no upfront fees or use of valuable resources, to services and technology platforms that will enable member businesses to claim tens of thousands of available funds.

“They bring expertise, professionalism and integrity in assisting our member business claim valuable OJT reimbursements,” he said. “This partnership is in line with our mission to provide enhanced services and support our member businesses, increasing their overall return on investment.”

Pete and Steve Lett, a father and son duo, started OJT Associates in March 2022. But the duo was talking about starting it in 2021 after a company hired Pete when he retired from the military and used OJT funding to hire him.

“I became entrenched and had a good understanding of OJT funding because of the experience I had early on in my career,” he said.

OJT Associates works with TORQworks, a platform that identifies knowledge, skill and ability gaps for individual positions.

“TORQworks would show the skill gaps a person has, and OJT Associates helps access the OJT funds,” said Pete Lett. “So essentially it's a done-for-you service for that business, so the business can focus on truly getting that person up to speed doing the actual training piece, while we deal with the administrative side and dealing with the government.”

OJT funds can be used for anybody who is unemployed or underemployed, noted Pete.

“Every state has its own rules on what underemployed looks like,” he said. “So there would be this pool of money this company can take advantage of to offset to be reimbursed for the cost of the person's salary or a portion — it’s about 50 percent. Essentially they can take a chance on the person, get them trained and mitigate the risk.”

Moses said business members of the chamber of commerce can go through the chamber to contact OJT Associates, or they can contact OJT Associates directly at 847-274-0490.