College was something Geneva G. dreamt about but for one reason or another always felt out of reach. When the doors to the company where she spent a 30 year career closed in 2011, Geneva had no luck finding employment in her hometown of Bristol Virginia.

Searching for help, Geneva reached out to the Virginia Employment Commission who introduced her to Ashley Prater with People Incorporated of Virginia. Prater helped Geneva enroll in Virginia Highland Community College (VHCC) where she graduated summa cum laude with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Accounting in April 2014.

“All my life I wanted to go back to school and never had the opportunity so this was fantastic when it came,” said Geneva.

With her educational dream realized, Geneva set out applying for jobs. She soon realized that companies were passing over her resume when they saw she was older and had no experience yet in accounting.

In April 2015, People Incorporated of Virginia was contacted by a growing tree removal company, Associated Tree Service.  The company was looking for an accounting/payroll clerk.  When Prater offered the idea of On-the-job training (OJT), Geneva jumped at the chance. Geneva was referred to the company and was hired after meeting with the owner.

OJT is a training strategy that the workforce investment system can offer local employers and job seekers. OJT puts unemployed workers back to work earning a wage while receiving training. Even better, employers can be reimbursed for the costs associated with training this new employee.

Through OJT, Geneva received hands-on skills in payroll, income and unemployment taxes, accounts and payables/receivables. She received positive evaluations from her employer during her entire participation in the OJT program and was hired full-time upon her completion of the program. She is very satisfied her new career.

Although Geneva credits VHCC with teaching her the skills she needs for her job, she doesn’t count out more education, particularly when it comes to computer knowledge.

“When my daughter started college at Virginia Tech years ago, I told her mom was going to go back to school too”. And she did it!

For more information on OJTs contact the WDB office at 540-633-6764 or