Designation benefits site selectors, employers, potential employees

The Economic Development Authority of Jones County and Jones College met with business and industry leaders last Tuesday to announce Jones County’s participation in the ACT Work Ready Commu- nity Certification initiative.

After being accepted into the program in October of last year, Sandy Holifield of EDA and Greg Butler of JC attended four required academies, receiving the instruction necessary as part of the certification process.

The ACT Work Ready Community initiative is a globally recognized certifi- cation used by site selectors and those seeking a location for their company to open a new location or expand current facilities. A WRC demonstrates that we have a workforce that is available, qualified, trainable and ready to go to work, officials said.

By participating in the WRC initiative, counties can both identify skill gaps and quantify the skill level of their workforce. This helps educators build career pathways aligned to the needs of business and industry. It also helps a community stand out and be recognized for its workforce-development efforts. A strong workforce is a tremendous economic development advantage. The goal is to ensure employee skills match employer needs while helping local educators prepare students for success in the workforce, officials said.

The foundation of a community’s certification is based on individuals at the county level across the current, transitioning and emerging workforce earning an ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate and employers recognizing the ACT Work- Keys NCRC.

The ACT WorkKeys NCRC is a portable, industry-recognized credential that clearly identifies an individual’s WorkKeys skills in workplace documents, applied math and graphic literacy. ACT has identified the current workforce as those currently employed.

The transitioning work- force is identified as those currently unemployed, GED or adult education participants, and/or the current or recent active-duty military.

The emerging workforce is identified as high school juniors, seniors, college students or recent graduates.

Benefits from CWRC certification include: Workers better understand what skills are required by employers and how to prepare themselves for success. Businesses can more effectively communicate their workforce needs to area education and work- force training programs. Educators have better tools for closing any skill gaps by establishing career pathways for students with stackable industry-recognized credentials.

For information on NCRC testing, contact the WIN Job Center at 601- 399-4000 or Jones County Junior College at 601-477- 4000. Students under 18 should contact their school counselor.

Employers and others who want to help Jones County reach the ACT Work Ready Communities goals, recognize the county’s initiative in developing the workforce or receive additional information can call Sandy Holifield at the EDA at 601-649-3031 or Greg Butler at 601-477- 4113.

For information on WRC, visit www.workrea- dycommunities.org.

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