Wayne County, NC Earns Coveted WorkReady Designation

February 20, 2013

Wayne County, NC – February 20, 2013 – North Carolina’s Eastern Region (NCER) is pleased to announce that Wayne County has become the first Certified WorkReady Community in North Carolina. Additional counties will be announced next month. The initiative, under leadership and direction from NCER was funded by the NC Rural Economic Development Center.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to declare Wayne County as a Certified WorkReady Community and we are eager to announce additional counties next month. NCER is committed to workforce development as a priority to attract and retain industry and strengthen the regional economy. Without a strong network of partners and funding from the NC Rural Center such an accomplishment would not be possible,” said Kathy Howard, Vice President for Workforce, North Carolina’s Eastern Region.

As a WorkReady Community, Wayne County has demonstrated a commitment to workforce excellence which is a testament to a comprehensive and collaborative approach to workforce development.

Communities are required to meet or exceed standards outlined at the start of the project. In addition to increasing the number of Career Readiness Certificates, a WorkReady Community increases its high school graduation rate, shows commitment from employers, and fosters collaboration between community representatives in business and education.

Such a designation will have real and immediate impact to the overall economy of Wayne County.

“The retention and recruitment of industry is extremely competitive, even more so today than in decades past.  The communities that set themselves apart in the areas most important to the decision making process will win the day.  Workforce is a huge deal in economic development and Wayne County gets that.  To be formally recognized as a ‘Work Ready Community’ and the first in the state is going to keep Wayne County on the leading edge.  It’s a recognition that we believe will result in more jobs and more investment for Wayne County,” remarked Joanna Helms, President, Wayne County Development Alliance.

Wayne County credits its success to its innovative WORKS (Wayne Occupational Readiness Keys for Success) program.  Wayne WORKS is a collaborative initiative led by business training experts at Wayne Community College whose goal is to strengthen the region’s workforce through skills training and assessment. 

For more information on Work Ready Communities please visit www.ncworkready.org

North Carolina’s Eastern Region is a regional economic development agency serving 13 counties from I-95 to the coast.  For information visit North Carolina’s Eastern Region’s website (www.nceast.org).

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