Onslow County, NC Earns WorkReady Community Designation

August 11, 2014

Onslow County, NC – August 11, 2014 - Another community in Eastern North Carolina has reason to celebrate the state of its workforce. Onslow County, home to Marine Corps Bases Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station, is the latest community to be certified as WorkReady.

Largely funded by the NC Rural Economic Development Center, the initiative is under leadership and direction from the NCEast Alliance. WorkReady Communities builds upon the highly acclaimed ASPIRE initiative which has spearheaded work resulting in more than 50,000 citizens who possess a Career Readiness Certificate (CRC).

“We are very pleased to declare Onslow County as a Certified WorkReady Community. We are committed to workforce development as a priority to attract and retain industry and strengthen the regional economy. Without a strong network of partners such an accomplishment would not be possible,” said Kathy Howard, Vice President for Workforce & Client Development, NCEast Alliance.

Communities can earn the designation by achieving certain standards, displaying their commitment to workforce excellence. The partnership must: 1) receive a pledge from 10 of the 20 largest employers to utilize the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) in employment practices; 2) have a minimum of 5% of the labor force possessing a CRC; 3) have a minimum high school graduation rate of 70%; and 4) increase the high school graduation rate by 1% each year.

“In this day and time, the skills needed by our local employers are ever changing. By offering our local citizens the opportunity to earn a Career Readiness Certificate, it positions them to secure employment that pays well, and puts them on a path to career advancement,” said Laurette Leagon, Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce President.

As part of the WorkReady program, employers are able to take advantage of a free job portal which connects them to job seekers in eastern NC (www.ncworkready.com). More than 150 employers have access to the portal which serves any industry and any level of job seeker.

Convergys, Marine Federal Credit Union, Edge-Works Manufacturing and Stanadyne Corporation are just a few Onslow County employers who recognize the value of the CRC for employment decisions.

Not only does WorkReady Communities benefit the incumbent workforce and existing industry but it will play an important role in the ability to recruit new industry as well.

"We are pleased for Onslow County to have achieved the WorkReady Communities certification. The nationally recognized certification is an important credential for recruiting business and industry and enables our existing employers to identify the skills they need in our local workforce." said Sheila Pierce, Executive Director of Jacksonville Onslow Economic Development.

The NCEast Alliance is a regional, not-for-profit, economic development corporation serving approximately 1 million residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. The Alliance provides community capacity building and assists companies with site location and expansion evaluations. For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at www.nceast.org or the NCEast WorkReady Communities site at www.ncworkready.org.

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