1375.40 Work-Try-Out (WTO) / On-The-Job Training (OJT) Policy

(Revised October 2018)

Table of Contents

Work-Try-Out (WTO)

A Work-Try-Out (WTO) may be used as an assessment or as a business incentive to confirm suitability for a job placement. WTO is time limited and must be provided in a competitive integrated work setting.  The objective of a WTO is to obtain first-hand information on job performance by providing the participant with a paid opportunity to assess skills, abilities and interests for a particular job.  For the business, a WTO may be an incentive to hire the individual for a specific job.

The WTO can be used to:

  1. Assess a participant’s ability to perform essential job functions for an identified employment goal; or
  2. Obtain job analysis and performance information in order to develop an OJT program for the participant with the current business or another business for a similar job; or
  3. Reduce the financial risk to the business to hire a participant while confirming the individual’s placement suitability in a specific job opening.  A WTO as a business incentive requires clear notation in the record of services that the business expects to continue to employ the participant.  

When authorizing a WTO to assess essential job functions or to obtain a job analysis, the WTO is authorized in status 18 or below.  When authorizing a WTO as a business placement incentive, the WTO may be authorized in status 22.  The WTO purpose must be clearly described and documented in the record of services.

ACCES-VR can reimburse a business100% of gross wages for a WTO, not to exceed 480 hours.  

On-the-Job Training (OJT)

On-the-Job Training (OJT) is a valid means of providing time limited on-the-job skill training in a competitive integrated work setting.   The business provides training to the participant to acquire essential job skills required for a particular job, consistent with the individual’s employment factors.  The outcome is employment with the business who provides the training, or with another business who provides advance written commitment to hire the participant upon successful completion of the OJT.

The ACCES-VR counselor determines the length of the OJT in consultation with the business.  The ACCES-VR counselor and participant should jointly pursue the development of the on-the-job training.  ACCES-VR may also authorize the assistance of a community rehabilitation provider (CRP) to help develop and provide follow-up for the OJT.

The length of training can be authorized up to a maximum of 26 weeks.  An OJT should be completed in less than 26 weeks whenever possible and must be based on the participant’s ability to acquire the necessary skills to achieve job competency.  O*NET On-Line, the Occupational Outlook Handbook and/or the Dictionary of Occupational Titles should be consulted to determine a reasonable training period.

Registered Apprenticeships

A registered Apprenticeship is a proven model of job preparation that combines paid on-the-job training (OJT) with related instruction to progressively increase workers’ skill levels and wages. Registered Apprenticeship is also a business-driven model that provides an effective way for businesses to recruit, train, and retain highly skilled workers. It allows businesses to develop and apply industry standards to training programs, thereby increasing productivity and the quality of the workforce. As an “earn and learn” strategy, Registered Apprenticeship offers job seekers immediate employment opportunities that pay sustainable wages and offer advancement along a career path. Graduates of Registered Apprenticeship programs receive nationally-recognized, portable credentials, and their training may be applied toward further post-secondary education.

The U.S. Registered Apprenticeship System is authorized through the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937. The Office of Apprenticeship (OA) in conjunction with State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs) is responsible for registering apprenticeship programs that meet Federal and State standards, issuing certificates of completion to apprentices, encouraging the development of new programs through outreach and technical assistance, protecting the safety and welfare of apprentices, and assuring that all programs provide high quality training.

All Registered Apprenticeship programs consist of the following five core components – direct business involvement, OJT, related instruction, rewards for skill gains, and a national occupational credential:

  • Business Involvement. Businesses are the foundation of every Registered Apprenticeship program, and the skills needed for workforce success form the core of the model. Businesses must play an active role in building Registered Apprenticeship programs and are involved in every step of their design and execution.
  • On-the-Job Training. Every Registered Apprenticeship program includes structured OJT. Companies hire apprentices and provide hands-on training from an experienced mentor. This training is developed by mapping the skills and knowledge the apprentice must learn over the course of the program to be fully proficient at the job.
  • Related Instruction. Apprentices receive related instruction or classroom style training that complements the OJT. This instruction helps refine the technical and academic skills that apply to the job. Related instruction may be provided by a community college, technical school or college, an apprenticeship training school, or by the business itself. This instruction can be provided at the school, online, or at the work site.
  • Rewards for Skill Gains. Apprentices receive increases in pay as their skills and knowledge increase. Progressive wage gains reward and motivate apprentices as they advance through training and become more productive and skilled at their job.
  • National Occupational Credential. Every graduate of a Registered Apprenticeship program receives a nationally-recognized credential, referred to as a Certificate of Completion, which is issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) or a federally recognized SAA. This portable credential signifies that the apprentice is fully qualified to successfully perform an occupation. Many Registered Apprenticeship programs – particularly in high-growth industries such as health care, advanced manufacturing, and transportation – also offer interim credentials as apprentice’s master skills as part of a career pathway.

The length of training and the skills and competencies required for mastery of an occupation are set by industry.

Information about apprenticeship is also available from Apprenticeship Training Programs at local New York State Department of Labor Apprenticeship Field Offices.  For a complete list of field offices at:

Field Offices Counties Phone
State Office Campus
Bldg. 12.  Room 459
Albany, NY  12240
Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene,
Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, Warren, Washington
290 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14202
Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara 716-851-2726
Long Island
303 W. Old Country Rd.
Hicksville, NY 11801
Nassau, Suffolk 516-934-8525
New York City
9 Bond Street
4th Fl., Room 4570
Brooklyn, NY  11201
Bronx, Kings, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland,
Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester
276 Waring Road
Rochester, NY  14609
Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates 518-457-7745
450 S. Salina Street
Syracuse, NY  13202
Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Herkimer, Jefferson,
Lewis, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, Schuyler, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins

The Apprenticeship Training Program can also be contacted via e-mail at: ATCO@labor.ny.gov.

Financial Need

WTO and OJT services are not subject to financial need.  While wage reimbursement fees are not subject to financial need, all associated services with the WTO and OJT must comply with ACCES-VR Financial Need Policy.   

Comparable Benefits

Comparable benefits must be used whenever they are both an available and appropriate means of providing any part of the WTO, OJT or apprenticeship.  Seeking comparable benefits should not unreasonably delay the start of the WTO, OJT or apprenticeship.  When a comparable benefit constitutes a partial payment of an assessment, placement or training fee, it must be applied against ACCES-VR’s authorized amount.

OJT Wage Reimbursement

An OJT is authorized as a vocational training service in status 18.   ACCES-VR may pay up to the business’s customary entry level wage for the job.  ACCES-VR will pay 100% wage reimbursement to the business of gross weekly earnings for up to 26 weeks.

If the length of the OJT must be extended past 26 weeks, the extension is approved at 50% wage reimbursement rate.

General Criteria for WTO or OJT

The ACCES-VR counselor develops the WTO or OJT consistent with the following criteria:

  1. The business is willing and able to assess and/or train the participant in the specific skills necessary for the job and will provide adequate supervision;
  2. The business will place the participant on the payroll for the customary starting wages of the job and cover Worker's Compensation, Social Security, and Unemployment Insurance;
  3. The business agrees to participate in ACCES-VR's payment method of wage reimbursement, including use of any comparable benefits to defray the cost to ACCES-VR;
  4. The business will assure that all Department of Labor standards for wages, hours and safety, are met;
  5. Any additional wage costs for overtime will be the responsibility of the business;
  6. The business will apply all benefits and company policies available to other employees in a similar job status;
  7. The business, or as appropriate the community rehabilitation provider (CRP), will immediately notify the ACCES-VR counselor of any problems or concerns with the WTO or OJT program;
  8. WTOs and OJTs shall not be authorized in circumstances where the participant would be considered an independent contractor;
  9. WTOs and OJTs may be authorized with for-profit businesses and not-for-profit businesses, including community rehabilitation providers (CRP);
  10. For WTOs as a placement incentive or for OJTs, the business must have the financial means to hire the participant.

All criteria must be documented in the record of services.

Role of the ACCES-VR Counselor

  1. The ACCES-VR counselor is primarily responsible for the proper development, implementation and monitoring of the WTO or OJT.  When appropriate, the ACCES-VR counselor may delegate identified responsibilities to the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Assistant (VRCA), Integrated Employment Specialist (IES) or Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP); but will maintain overall responsibility for the service.
  2. The ACCES-VR counselor in consultation with a community rehabilitation provider when appropriate, shall visit the WTO or OJT site and meet with the business to negotiate the terms of the business-based program.
  3. The ACCES-VR counselor in consultation with a community rehabilitation provider when appropriate, shall assure that the business meets the selection criteria, understands the purpose of the WTO or OJT and his/her role in the program.
  4. The ACCES-VR counselor in consultation with a community rehabilitation provider when appropriate, shall discuss the content of the WTO or OJT Agreements, Assessments, or Progress Reports with the business and participant. Any revisions to the specific WTO or OJT program require ACCES-VR approval.
  5. The ACCES-VR counselor in consultation with a community rehabilitation provider when appropriate, shall assure that the participant fully understands the terms of the WTO or OJT program which has been developed, and all parties agree to accept their responsibilities for its fulfillment.
  6. The ACCES-VR counselor shall verify the participant’s receipt of the wages agreed upon, and place verification of wages in case record. The counselor shall immediately intervene when any discrepancy is apparent.

Ethical Considerations

          A WTO or OJT is a unique relationship between ACCES-VR and a business since the business is also the provider of the WTO or OJT service.  ACCES-VR staff should exercise caution in selecting an appropriate business to guard against either real or potential conflict of interest.  The following guidelines apply:

  1. A WTO or OJT shall not be authorized with a business who is the immediate relative (spouse, parent, stepparent, foster parent, offspring, grandparent, in-law or sibling) of the participant.
  2. A WTO or OJT may be authorized with a current or former business when the counselor documents that the onset or progression of the participant's disability requires acquisition of new work-related skills.
  3. A WTO or OJT shall not be authorized with a business who is an ACCES-VR staff member or his/her immediate relative.
  4. A WTO for assessment purposes may be authorized in any Civil Service position.  A WTO as a placement incentive or an OJT, may be authorized only for Civil Service positions which are exam exempt (i.e. does not require a written test). 
  5. A WTO for assessment purposes may be authorized through a professional or temporary placement agency. A WTO as a placement incentive or an OJT - is not allowed. 

    *Exception: A WTO as a placement incentive or an OJT is allowed when the professional or temporary placement agency is providing long-term, stable employment upon completion of the WTO or OJT and is directly responsible for payment of wages and benefits to the participant.  This must be clearly documented in the record of services.

  6. If the participant is under age 18, the ACCES-VR counselor shall confirm that the participant has proper employment certificates and the job adheres to DOL Laws Governing Employment of Minors.

Tools and Equipment

The business is expected to provide the tools and equipment for a WTO or OJT consistent with their practice with any other employee. 

When ACCES-VR provides tools and equipment, a written tools and equipment specification list must be provided by the business and documented in the record of services.  ACCES-VR retains ownership of all tools and equipment until after the participant is successfully closed into status 26.  An “Ownership of Equipment and Supplies” (VR-69) form must be completed and documented in the record of services.

For a WTO, if ACCES-VR is expected to provide the participant with tools or necessary equipment that the business does not provide, we may authorize purchase to complete the WTO evaluation.  This purchase is contingent on financial need. If available, comparable benefits must be applied and purchases should be made in the most cost-effective manner. 

For an OJT, if ACCES-VR is involved in the provision of tools and equipment, ACCES-VR’s financial need calculation shall be applied disregarding the anticipated income from the OJT wages.  Such tools and equipment would include those customarily required for a worker to perform efficiently on the job and necessary for placement.

Purchase of Clothing

For the purchase of required clothing, please follow Purchase of Clothing/Tools/Equipment Memorandum (POL 09-04) which includes safety clothing, (steel-toed work boots, heat resistant gloves, and hard hats) to begin a job when not provided by the business.

Rehabilitation Technology

Rehabilitation technology, adaptive tools and devices are separate and distinct from ordinary tools and equipment required for a specific job.  For ACCES-VR to provide required adaptive tools and equipment necessary, follow guidelines and procedures described in Rehabilitation Technology Policy and Procedure.

Combining WTO or OJT with Other Services

A WTO or OJT may be combined with Supported Employment and Core Rehabilitation Services (CRS) when it is determined by the ACCES-VR counselor to be necessary for the participant to achieve the employment outcome.  When a WTO or OJT is authorized in conjunction with any CRS service, it must be clearly documented in the record of services to be necessary to meet the rehabilitation needs of the participant and is not a duplication of services. 

Approval by the ACCES-VR Regional Coordinator, District Office Manager or designated supervisor, is required.

Reporting Requirements

A letter of agreement explaining the roles, responsibilities and expectations of the WTO OJT, or Registered Apprenticeship shall be sent by ACCES-VR to the business, the participant and when appropriate the community rehabilitation provider.

The ACCES-VR counselor in consultation with a community rehabilitation provider when appropriate, and the participant, shall utilize a written assessment or training progress reports for all WTOs and OJTs.  Attendance requirements for the participant shall meet the same standards as for all other employees.

In those circumstances when an OJT is authorized, and employment is expected to be with a different business, ACCES-VR must have this commitment in writing and the ACCES-VR counselor must document in the record of service why the OJT cannot be performed where the participant is expected to be placed.

For a WTO or OJT, the business shall supply at a minimum, written monthly progress/assessment reports and evidence of wage payment to the ACCES-VR counselor. The report should accurately assess the participants ability to become employed at the end of the assessment or training period.  For the WTO as an assessment, a final report to the ACCES-VR counselor will indicate whether or not the participant was able to demonstrate the ability to perform the essential functions of the job at the required level of productivity.  For the OJT, the final report must address retention of the participant in employment.

Documenting Progress for Measurable Skills Gains (Training Milestone and Skills Progression)

The recording of measurable skills gains is essential for accurate RSA 911 reporting as well as for reporting our performance on the related common performance measure under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).   A measurable skills gain is defined as progress a participant is making in an education or training program that is leading to a credential or employment.

The measurable skill gains indicator is used to measure interim progress of participants who are enrolled in education or training services for a specified reporting period.  It is intended to capture important progressions through pathways that offer different services based on program purposes and participant needs.  Staff must document measurable skills gains for education and training programs leading to the attainment of a credential or employment. Documentation is to be completed as measurable skills gains occur. These are tracked in the WIOA Education Tab in CaMS.

Education/Training Type Leading to Credential or Employment

Type of Measurable Skills Gains

Apprenticeship or On-the-Job Training (OJT)

  • Training Milestone
  • Skills Progression

Note: Only training and education necessary to achieve the IPE goal, listed in the IPE, is to be documented and tracked in the WIOA Education Tab in CaMS. This includes education and training that ACCES-VR purchases and training/ or education services provided by a comparable benefit or participant contribution.

Training Milestone

Satisfactory or better progress report towards established milestones, such as completion of an OJT, completion of a one-year apprenticeship program, or similar milestone from a business or training provider.  Progress reports may include training reports on milestones completed as the individual masters the required job skills, or steps to complete an OJT or apprenticeship program.  Increases in pay resulting from newly acquired skills or increased performance can also be used to document progress. 

Skills Progression

Successful passage of an exam that is required for an occupation or progress in attaining technical or occupational skills as evidenced by trade-related benchmarks, such as knowledge-based exams.  Documentation for this gain may include passage of a component exam in a Registered Apprenticeship program, business-required knowledge-based exam, satisfactory attainment of an element on an industry or occupational competency-based assessment, or completion test necessary to obtain a credential. 

Documenting Credential Attainment for Registered Apprenticeships

In addition to the new Measurable Skill Gains performance indicator, WIOA also includes a new Credential Attainment Rate performance indicator. Graduates from Registered Apprenticeship programs receive a credential (referred to as a Certificate of Completion) issued by either the USDOL or a federally-recognized SAA, which is considered a recognized postsecondary credential under WIOA. Individuals who complete a Registered Apprenticeship program may use their credential toward college credit at a college participating in the Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium (RACC). This is a network of colleges and Registered Apprenticeship programs where member colleges agree to accept the Registered Apprenticeship credential towards college credit. As a member of the RACC, Registered Apprenticeship 11 programs must have their programs assessed by a third-party evaluator to determine college credit value.

Processing Vouchers

The WTO or OJT voucher will not be processed for payment unless accompanied by a WTO Assessment Report; WTO placement incentive commitment letter from the business; or On-the-Job Training Progress Report. The WTO Assessment or OJT Progress Report form must be submitted by the business to the ACCES-VR counselor at the end of each established assessment/training period (at a minimum, every 4 weeks).

IPE's and Authorizations will be:

  • prepared with the vendor ID # assigned by the ACCES-VR CO Provider Review Unit: and
  • prepared in hourly units for the WTO (case service code 150x) and weekly units for the OJT (case service code 560x); and
  • provided along with agreement forms and cover letters; and
  • properly justified with supporting case note documentation in the record of services; and
  • followed by additional Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and NYS Workers with Disabilities Employment Tax Credit (WETC) and any other available business financial incentives.

Certification for tax credit eligibility must be completed and mailed within 28 days of the participant being placed on the business’s payroll at the beginning of an WTO or OJT that results in a placement with that business.

If ACCES-VR is involved in the provision of tools and equipment, purchases should be coordinated with the ACCES-VR DO Business Manager or designee and shall also be made according to current NYS Finance Law and ACCES-VR bidding procedures.

WTO/OJT Standard Forms and Letters

  • VR-69, Ownership of Equipment and Supplies
  • VR 400, Vendor Authorization Form
  • WTO Report Form
  • WTO Agreement Form
  • WTO Letter to the Business
  • WTO Letter to the Participant
  • OJT Agreement Form
  • OJT Progress Report Form
  • OJT Letter to the Business
  • VR 801, OJT Letter to the Participant