PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Jackson County is now certified as an ACT® Work Ready Community. The board of supervisors reported the new certification Monday.
This means, basically, those who are being trained for career-technical jobs are ready to meet the needs of current and future employees. It is similar to how the ACT test measures students’ readiness for higher education. The certification uses real testing data to help close the skills gap in the workplace.
“Having an available, skilled workforce is the top priority for companies doing business in Jackson County or considering a move here,” said George Freeland, the executive director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation.
Freeland believes this new certification communicates an understanding to employers.
“This certification signals we, as a community, understand what skills employers are looking for, and we are working with our education, business and industry leaders, as well as workforce development partners, to meet those demands," he explained. "We are rewriting the workforce narrative by reaching the emerging workforce, engaging and educating local industries and the community at large.”
Due to the consistent and diligent work of the Jackson County ACT Work Ready Team and its many partners, the county’s required testing and business support goals were met almost a year before the deadline.
Jackson County now joins 32 other counties in Mississippi, who have been certified ACT Work Ready.
More than 90 employers in Jackson County recognize this initiative, which revolves around the ACT WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) assessments.
The test measures a range of foundational workplace skills including: critical thinking, problem solving, graphic literacy, understanding workplace documents, as well as following workplace procedures. Job seekers who pass the three main assessments earn an NCRC. If skills gaps are identified, the ACT WorkKeys curriculum helps close those gaps.
“Jackson County has one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing companies in the region, and we are very proud of the workforce in this community,” says Ken Taylor, President of the Jackson County board of supervisors. “The County’s achievement of becoming certified by ACT as a Work Ready Community will only help advance our competitive position to secure new economic development opportunities and continue to meet any future expansion needs of existing companies.
For more information on this initiative, please visit www.workreadycommunities.org/MS/059