The purpose of establishing an ACT Work Ready Community is to close the skills gaps between potential employees and the needs of employers. Nationwide, over 400 counties and 21,000 employers participate in the ACT Work Ready Program. Currently, 4.4 million people have attained their ACT Workkeys National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). An NCRC certificate is established at four levels: platinum, gold, silver, and bronze.
Craighead County began the process of becoming a certified Work Ready Community two years ago. Shelle Randall, the Director of Workforce Development and Existing Industry for Jonesboro Unlimited, spearheaded the effort.
“Craighead County is blessed to have great employers that have built successful companies because of their talented employees," said Shelle Randall, "Becoming an ACT Work Ready Community ensures the steady stream of skilled workers in Craighead County will continue."
As having a qualified workforce is imperative to a community’s sustained economic growth. According to Robby Burgan, Manager of Location Strategies for Evergreen Advisors, those communities that meet the criteria to be a Work Ready Community have one more way to market themselves to future investors.
“ACT Work Ready Communities are setting themselves apart by intentionally developing their local workforce in support of their existing companies while positioning themselves to attract new companies,” Burgan said.
“Jonesboro and Craighead County are a great example of what’s right with Arkansas. Becoming an ACT Work Ready Community will make Jonesboro and Craighead County even stronger,“ says Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Craighead County set a goal of 2,125 NCRC holders. Currently, Craighead County has achieved 3,145 people with NCRCs of whom 84% hold silver, gold, or platinum certificates. Additionally, 70 employers in Craighead County recognize or recommend the NCRC.
Attaining an NCRC requires a job seeker to take the ACT Workkeys Assessment®. The assessment can be administered with an appointment at the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services office on Nettleton Drive in Jonesboro.
Typically, there is no cost for students or job seekers to take the ACT Workkeys Assessment®.