Workforce Developers Eye Success in East for Replication

December 13, 2013

Workforce Developers Eye Success in East for Replication

Greensboro, NC – December 13, 2013 - Providing skilled labor for existing and future employers is essential. Site location consultants, who help companies sort through the multitude of possible locations for expansion or relocation, often make the point that workforce is the number one criteria companies evaluate in such a decision. Eastern NC has heard this loudly and clearly and it is leading the way through its engagement of employers. Others have taken notice and are seeking ways to replicate the success.

North Carolina’s Eastern Region’s Vice President for Workforce & Client Development, Kathy Howard was invited to speak at a statewide conference to Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) administrators. The 2 day conference held in Greensboro hosts administrators from the 56 community colleges.

Through its WorkReady Communities initiative NC’s Eastern Region is leading North Carolina in its engagement of employers who use the Career Readiness Certificate in their hiring process and the number of job seekers obtaining the credential.

Howard presented on the key elements of the region’s program and the strength of a regional approach to workforce development as others seek to replicate the success.

"WorkReady Communities has been an extremely successful initiative in eastern North Carolina,” said Howard.

“The partnerships that have developed with this workforce pilot program has allowed all thirteen counties in eastern NC to increase Career Readiness Certification and has been a driver in the implementation of various programs to assist in building a pipeline of certified workers for our existing and future industry. This is a true partnership between educators, workforce and economic developers,” Howard added.

Communities can earn the designation by achieving certain standards, displaying their commitment to workforce excellence. The partnership must receive a pledge from 10 of the top 20 largest employers to utilize the CRC in employment practices with a minimum of 5% of the labor force possessing a CRC and increase the high school graduation rate by 1% with a minimum qualifying rate of 70%.

To date 5 eastern NC counties have achieved the coveted WorkReady designation: Craven, Edgecombe, Lenoir, Pitt and Wayne.

Based on ACT’s WorkKeys system, the CRC assesses job seekers’ foundational skills to insure they are ready to work in today’s technology-driven environment. Making sure workers have the correct job-specific foundational skills gives employers confidence that job applicants are prepared for-on-the-job training and higher level skill development.  Companies that make the effort to develop WorkKeys Job Profiles are the best positioned to find the right job applicant that possesses a CRC.

Over the past several years, the regional economic development agency has provided more than $1 million to support the advancement of WorkKeys job profiles and the number of job seekers earning a CRC. Consequently, the region went from 1,000 CRCs awarded per year to over 10,000 CRCs per year in 4 a year period. Through the diligent work of a network of 13 counties, 11 community colleges and 3 workforce development boards, more than 150 companies now utilize the CRC in their employment practices and over 45,000 people now possess a CRC - about 10% of the regional labor force. The region boasts a higher percentage of the labor force, and the highest absolute number of people, possessing a CRC than any region in NC.

For more information on WorkReady 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 more information, visit North Carolina’s Eastern Region’s website at www.nceast.org.


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