Chillicothe — The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) today announced that Livingston County has been designated as Missouri’s newest Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC). The CWRC designation recognizes successful efforts by community, education and business leaders, working with the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, to strengthen workforce training and development to meet the economic development needs of communities.
“Bridging the gap between the skills businesses need and the talents of the local workforce is critical to strengthening our economy,” said Mike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “I congratulate Livingston County for connecting educators and employers to achieve this goal and I am thrilled to see the Certified Work Ready Community initiative becoming a focal point for communities looking to grow and create a work-ready workforce.”
The announcement of the designation was made at the Grand River Technical School, a supporter of Livingston County’s CWRC efforts. Several local companies that utilize the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) in their hiring process or internal capacity were present at the event, including The Baptist Home and Investor’s Community Bank. The NCRC is a work-related skills credential, providing objective documentation of an individual’s skills that is accepted nationwide by many employers.
“Our goal is to find individuals that have a desire and a heart for our aging elders. Individuals that want to aid them in the activities in daily living that are now a struggle. By using NCRC this will help us find those people that have that heart and desire,” said Ruthie Meyers, administrator of The Baptist Home. “Hiring the right people the first time saves time, money and resources that can in turn be used for higher wages and better benefits for our existing employees.”
“Investor’s Community Bank is using the NCRC to assist us in choosing potential employees. This is another tool used to evaluate individuals who would be a fit for our business. This program also shows skills that may not be reflected on their resume,” said Shelly Epperson, with Investor’s Community Bank. “By knowing what specific set of skills they possess, it helps us save time and money. By having this program we are able to find the right candidates the first time.”
In 2012, Missouri was selected as one of the first four states to participate in the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative by American College Testing (ACT). The initiative aligns workforce training programs with the economic development needs of communities; matches appropriate applicants to jobs based on skill level; and strengthens businesses by strengthening the workforce. In 2013, Jasper County, Missouri was named the first Certified Work Ready Community in the nation. Missouri now has 64 counties that are actively participating in the Certified Work Ready Community initiative and 18 fully certified counties.
“Our designation of becoming a Certified Work Ready Community could not have been achieved without full support from our community,” said Matt Trussell, Livingston CWRC Chair and director of the Small Business Technology Development Center at Northwest Missouri State University. “From partnering with our local educators to working with the more than 30 local businesses that supported this initiative, it was a team effort and we are excited to join the ranks of the state’s certified counties and show our workforce readiness.”
Several local employers and organizations, including local school districts, educational institutions, chambers of commerce, and economic development organizations, came together to promote and support Livingston County’s efforts to achieve this important certification. By participating in ACT's Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, Livingston County is:
· Helping workers understand what skills are required by employers, and how to prepare themselves for success;
· Helping businesses effectively communicate their workforce needs to area education and workforce training programs;
· Providing educators with the tools needed to close the skills gap by establishing career pathways for students with stackable industry-recognized credentials; and
· Equipping economic development organizations with an on-demand reporting tool to promote the quality of their workforce.
For more information about Missouri Works Training or the Certified Work Ready Community initiative and how to apply for certification, visit MO.gov.