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The Business View – June 2016 / News You Can Use
On Thursday, Advancing Southwest Alabama kicked off its efforts to become the first regional ACT Work Ready Community in the state. It is one of several high-profile outcomes resulting from the Southwest Alabama manufacturing community designation.
A typical Work Ready Community is established on a county-by-county basis and requires two key measures: the work readiness of individuals, including graduating high school students, current workforce and the unemployed, as measured by the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC); and the number of companies recognizing NCRCs as a valid measure of work readiness in potential and current employees.
The ACT Work Keys assessments (given by the same organization that offers the ACT college prep test) of applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information form the basics of the NCRC and document the skills most critical for success in the workplace. For employers, the NCRCs may be used in their screening, hiring and professional development.
With the designation, the region will have a nationally recognized measurement of its workforce readiness skills – an asset Troy Wayman, the Mobile Area Chamber’s vice president of economic development, believes “will be an incredible recruitment tool” for future business prospects.
Led by Advancing Southwest Alabama, the regional partnership that earned the Manufacturing Community designation, Southwest Alabama is on track to become a Work Ready Community by late 2017.
According to Emily McGrath, director of workforce development for the Chamber, “The target outcome for the public launch is for businesses to sign our “employer recognition form” saying that they recognize the National Career Readiness Certificate as a valid workforce credential.”
The goal is to have 250 businesses in Mobile and Baldwin County to sign commit to recognizing the Work Keys assessment tool. All students in Mobile and Baldwin County public schools are required to take the assessment during their senior year.
Members of the regional leadership team for Work Ready Community are: Terry Burkle, Baldwin County Education Coalition; Dr. Josh Duplantis, Applied Higher Education Inc.; Emily McGrath, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce; Laura O’Connor, Advancing Southwest Alabama; Will Ruzic, Coastal Gateway Economic Development Alliance; and Dr. Kathy Thompson, University of South Alabama.
Click here to read The Business View – June 2016