Published by Laurie Pender on June 21, 2018
FAYETTEVILLE – Cumberland County was certified as an ACT Work Ready Community in May after completing a two-year certification process.
The ACT WRC initiative helps counties enhance their economic development efforts by ensuring members of the community, from students just entering the workforce to long-time employees, understand the skills employers require and how they can prepare themselves for success.
The initiative is powered by the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), which is a portable credential that measures an individual’s foundational workplace skills, such as math and reading. Employers are assured that a candidate who holds an NCRC is prepared to quickly learn job-specific skills.
“Being a Work Ready Community communicates the quality of the county’s workforce and competitiveness. The ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate gives a measurement of a job seeker’s skill level and assists with closing any existing skills gap,” said Nedra Clayborne Rodriguez, Cumberland County NCWorks Career Center Executive Director for the Workforce Development Board.
“This is helpful for both the employer and the job seeker. For our community to be recognized as ‘Work Ready’ is a substantial benefit for recruiting and supporting businesses.”
The process began in 2016 when a steering committee was formed to develop a plan for Cumberland County to become a certified Work Ready Community. That plan included strategies to build employer support for the initiative and increase the high school graduation rate.
Cumberland County was given two years to meet required goals that were established by ACT. Those goals included having employer support from 158 businesses that committed to recognizing or recommending the career readiness certificate and 2,229 people had to earn the certificate. Cumberland County surpassed its goal with 10,000 individuals earning the WorkKeys certification.
Businesses help the initiative by identifying skill gaps and quantify the skill level of our local workforce. This helps educators build career pathways that are aligned with the needs of business and industry. It also helps the community stand out and be recognized for its workforce development efforts.
“We all have a stake in making our county more competitive and closing the skills gap. Certified Work Ready Communities help us do that by linking workforce development to education and aligning the economic needs of our community,” said Nore Brantley, High School to Work Partnership Coordinator and “champion” for Cumberland County’s ACT WRC Initiative.
Businesses can register their support for the National Career Readiness Certificate by visiting workreadycommunities.org/NC/051. For additional information about how to earn the Career Readiness Certificate, individuals can call the Cumberland County NCWorks Career Center at 910.486.1010 or visit 414 Ray Ave, Fayetteville.
Used with permission.