Education Matters 31: NC Works Certified Work Ready Communities
- Wendy Johnson, Director of Workforce Development, Western Piedmont Council of Governments
- Adrian Tait, Director, High Country Workforce Development Board
- Jeanne Turner-Simms, Career & Technical Education Coordinator, Hickory Public Schools
Websites & Resources
Certified Work Ready Communities workreadycommunities.org/
NC Chamber ncchamber.net/foundation/ncworks-certified-work-ready-communities/
NC Works www.nccommerce.com/ncworks
Workforce development has been a priority in North Carolina for many years. A talent pipeline with the necessary foundational and technical skills for success is a primary goal for education and workforce professionals.
In 2011, the NC Eastern Region began a pilot program to certify counties as NC WorkReady. This pilot serves as the model for the statewide NCWorks Certified Communities initiative. The partnership and collaboration among the North Carolina Chamber, Department of Commerce, Community College System and the Department of Public Instruction create a seamless framework for communities to become certified as work ready.
High school seniors in public schools who have a CTE concentration (four technical credits in a Career Cluster) take the ACT WorkKeys® assessments needed to earn an ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™ (ACT NCRC®). Community colleges throughout the state serve as instructional and testing centers for adults and transitioning youth. The North Carolina Chamber serves as the organization that will designate counties as NCWorks Certified Communities.
The NCWorks Certified Communities initiative supports economic development by providing a workforce with documented foundational skills. Other benefits include competitive cost models through lower employee turnover, decreased training time and costs, and related efficiencies that enhance North Carolina's global competitiveness. Increasing support of the ACT NCRC is a key strategy; the goal is to have eight of the 10 largest employers in each participating county recognize or recommend the workplace credential.