FREDERICKTOWN, Mo.—The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) today announced Madison County has achieved official designation as a Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC).
“Hats off to Madison County for this major workforce achievement,” said Mike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “With this certification, Madison County distinguishes itself nationally, helping the entire region to ensure continued growth and prosperity.”
The CWRC designation, made by American College Testing (ACT), 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.
Madison County already had been offering Workkeys testing for the National Career Readiness Certificate, which helped the community meet its goals as it set out towards achieving certification. The Missouri Jobs Center in Park Hills and Mineral Area College were instrumental in testing local workers.
The Southeast region has made impressive progress with CWRC efforts: Thirteen of its counties are engaged in pursuing the certification, which is one of the highest concentrations in Missouri. Four counties in this part of the state are certified, including Dunklin County, south of Madison County, which is also celebrating its certification today.
“Madison County is proud to become certified as a Work Ready Community,” said Bob Mooney, presiding county commissioner and chair CWRC efforts. “We believe this will help our business recruitment—particularly with our strong manufacturing base—and look forward to improving employer base utilizing this valuable asset.”
The ceremony was held at Black River Electric Cooperative, a supporter of CWRC efforts.
In 2012, Missouri was selected to be one of the first four states to participate in the CWRC initiative, and in 2013, Jasper County became the first CWRC in the nation. Missouri now has 75 counties that are actively participating in the CWRC initiative and 25 fully-certified counties.
In the past two months, over one half-dozen Missouri counties have celebrated certification as work ready communities.
Additional partners in obtaining the CWRC designation include Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Fredericktown Industrial Development Authority, Madison County, Fredericktown School District, the Southeast Missouri Workforce Investment Board, Cap America, among others.
CWRC status makes communities more attractive to businesses because it offers a feedback loop for what’s needed by different players in the dynamic 21st Century workforce. Specifically, benefits from CWRC certification include:
- Workers better understand what skills are required by employers and how to prepare themselves for success.
- Businesses can more effectively communicate their workforce needs to area education and workforce training programs.
- Educators have better tools for closing any skill gaps by establishing career pathways for students with stackable industry-recognized credentials.
- Economic development organizations are better equipped with an on-demand reporting tool to promote the quality of their workforce.
For more information about CWRC and how to apply for certification, visit www.ded.mo.gov/getcertified.