State Representatives Al Landis (R-Dover) and Anthony DeVitis (R-Green) offered sponsor testimony before the Ohio House Economic and Small Business Development Committee on House Bill 538, which ensures that individuals who are participating in a learn to earn program and are either injured or contract an illness during that time receive the necessary compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Law or Underemployment Compensation Law.

Ohioans on unemployment who want to get back to work often don’t have the skills they need to get the jobs they seek. House Bill 538 creates the Ohio Learn to Earn program to provide an incentive for unemployed Ohioans who are worried that entering an on-the-job training program could cost them their unemployment benefits and not result in a permanent job.

“This program is designed to offer an incentive to employers to give job training to an individual who is receiving unemployment benefits,” Rep. DeVitis said. “This will help the unemployed to be quickly placed back into the workplace.”

The program will allow Ohioans currently collecting unemployment compensation to train with a potential employer for a period of time while still collecting their unemployment benefits and being covered for workers’ compensation by the state. It will enable Ohioans who are looking for work to maintain their standard of living while obtaining the skills they need to succeed.

The Ohio Learn to Earn program is modeled after the “GeorgiaWorks” program, which has offered similar opportunities and benefits to unemployed individuals since 2003. Since its inception, more than 8,000 companies have participated in the program and nearly 50 percent of the participants of the program have been hired. This has resulted in an estimated savings of $6.4 million to Georgia’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and an estimated $16.8 million to Georgia’s employers.

“GeorgiaWorks was designed to stimulate job growth and offer unemployed individuals additional opportunities to find permanent jobs,” Rep. Landis said. “It has had significant success in Georgia, and I am confident that Ohio too can have similar results with the Learn to Earn program, which will ultimately lead to a lower number of those unemployed in Ohio.”


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