Geary County Participating in ACT Work Ready Community Certification
Jul. 24, 2015
Junction City Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development is one of the few counties in Kansas to participate in the ACT Community Work Ready Certification initiative.
The ACT Work Ready Communities (WRC) initiative is a core element in the effort to build a national system for work readiness. The basis for the initiative are the ACT National Career Readiness Certificates™ (ACT NCRC®) that focus on certifying three essential skills – applied math, reading for information, and locating information. The ACT NCRC credential can help demonstrate to employers the skill level and work readiness among new workers, transitioning workers, and current employees.
The Certificates – and the skills they verify – show employers that an individual possesses foundational skills needed to succeed. The testing process also helps emerging workers identify their strengths and understand what training might be necessary to pursue their life goals. Greg Miller JCACC Economic Development Director said, “Work ready certification gives us more credibility when talking to site selectors and potential employers, and marketing our community nationally. It will also allow us to convey that we have a skilled workforce, an asset that companies consider in their location and expansion decisions.”
Larry Hicks Geary County Commissioner, May Cay Stauffer USD 475 Executive Director of Innovation in Schools & Community, Jo Brunner Workforce Services Supervisor Kansas Works, Cindy Carlyon AP/AR/HR Junction City Wire Harness, Jason York Director of Business & Industry Programs Cloud County Community College, Greg Miller Economic Development Director and Susan Jagerson Economic Development Specialist, will lead the two-year initiative. Commissioner Hicks stated, “After attending the National Association of Counties meeting last week and workforce readiness certification being a major topic of discussion, I am pleased that Geary County is going to be involved in the program.”
The first part of the certification process is a twelve-month performance-driven Academy to assist communities in initiating and deploying their work readiness efforts. Team members are required to attend four WRC work sessions during that period. After completing the Academy and developing the ACT WRC framework, team leaders implement the program and use established performance metrics based on individuals earning and employers recognizing the ACT NCRC® to build a sustainable, county-based work ready program.
Ben Kitchens, Chair of the Economic Development Commission advisory committee said, “EDC understands the importance of having a readily available workforce when it comes to retaining or expanding existing businesses and attracting new employers to the area. The EDC voted in favor of providing the financial support necessary for Geary County to obtain the WRC certification.”
By participating in the ACT WRC initiative, Geary County can identify skill gaps and quantify the skill level of the area workforce. This will enable schools to better define career pathways to meet the needs of business and industry. According to ACT, “It also helps a community stand out and be recognized for its workforce development efforts. A strong workforce is a tremendous economic development advantage.”