Wayne County has earned its fourth recertification as a Work Ready Community.
It was named the first Certified Work Ready Community in North Carolina by North Carolina’s Eastern Region in 2013 and the ACT in 2015 and has met every recertification mark since then.
To maintain its certification as an ACT Work Ready Community, the county must meet all criteria, including demonstrating its commitment to developing a strong workforce pipeline, desirable to employers, economic developers, and current and future residents.
The volume of National Career Readiness Certificates earned, the level of employer recognition or recommendation of the NCRC, along with improvement in high school graduation rates, are criteria for designation as an ACT Work Ready Community.
According to Nicole Brown Darden, Wayne Business and Industry Center director of training and development for soft skills, a third or more of the county’s eligible workforce has taken the WorkKeys NCRC test and more than 100 Wayne County employers recognize the credential.
“Having a Work Ready Certified Community makes Wayne County more competitive in attracting new economic development projects,” Darden said.
While the test may be taken at Wayne Community College by any resident, Wayne County Public Schools high school students take the test at their schools.
“We thank our county commissioners for being forward thinking,” Darden said. “We were the first county to test all high school students. This ensures that those students have the opportunity to leave with a credential.”
The cost for members of the public to take the set of three skill assessments – Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents – is $36. Testing occurs weekly at the college. Preparation for the tests is also available there. Details and schedules can be found at www.waynecc.edu/business-industry/talent-assessment/.
To determine which skills are required by specific positions, Darden encourages local businesses to take advantage of the job profiling service provided by the Business and Industry Center.
The job profiling process analyzes the tasks and skills needed to perform a specific job successfully and uses those to determine benchmarks for recruiting, hiring, advancement, and training for that position. Currently there is no fee for profiling but that is subject to change.
“Maintaining our Work Ready Community certification requires employer support,” Darden said. “There is no cost to become a Work Ready Community supporter.”
Businesses that are interested in any of these services can contact Darden at 919-739-7011 or [email protected] for more information.
Wayne County employers are invited to an online information session about the ACT Job Profiling System and other aspects of a Work Ready Community. It is scheduled as a virtual lunch-and-learn, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sept. 9. To attend the free session, contact Linda Berard at [email protected] with your name and email address by Sept. 7. Participants will be sent more details and a link to the meeting.