Watauga County Achieves Work Ready Community Certification from ACT

Watauga County today announced that it has met all criteria to become a certified ACT Work Ready Community. This achievement caps a two-year engagement process and begins a two-year growth and maintenance phase to retain certification.

The ACT Work Ready Communities initiative is designed to assist a particular area, region or state in developing its workforce pipeline to provide skilled workers for employers. The framework allows each participating community to quantify and improve the skill levels of its workforce through a standardized workforce skill credential-the ACT WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate™ -supported by data updated online by Iowa-based ACT on a monthly basis.

The County partnered with the High Country Workforce Development Board and Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute to work toward the goals set by ACT for Work Ready Communities. Those goals included Career Readiness Certificates earned by students, job seekers and workers, and recognition of the program by local employers. According to Joe Furman, Watauga County Economic Development Director, “the certification will enhance our economic development efforts by demonstrating to potential employers that we have a skilled and motivated workforce. Special thanks for achieving the goals go to Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute for promoting and administering the tests and for engaging employers.”

“We congratulate Watauga County for this significant achievement, and we are proud to add them to our growing list of certified ACT Work Ready Communities,” said Tony Ga rife, ACT Regional Manager, Workforce Initiatives. “The progressive thinking and positive action demonstrated by county leadership shows an enduring commitment to growing the economic success of the area. As a result, local residents will begin seeing the important linkage between education and workforce development and the value of matching people to jobs.”

The common building blocks of the initiative include the following:

  • ACT WorkKeys assessments: Standardized tests that measure an individual’s essential work readiness skills in applied math, workplace documents, and graphic literacy.  According to decades of ACT research, these foundational skills are essential for a majority of today’s jobs.
  • ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate: A national credential based on assessment results and issues at the bronze, silver, gold, or platinum level to indicate career readiness.
  • ACT Career Curriculum, ACT KeyTrain and ACT Soft Skills Suite training tools help individuals improve their “hard” and “soft” skill levels, as well as ACT Career Ready 101 helps teachers bring work readiness skills into the classroom.
  • Job profiles: A job analysis system that helps employers understand the specific ACT WorkKeys assessment scores required for entry into and effective performance in a given job.

For more information on this initiative, go to workreadycommunities.org. For more information on all of ACT’s workforce solutions, go to act.org/workforce.