Vernon County achieves Certified Work Ready Status

February 26, 2016

NEVADA, Mo.— The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) today announced that Vernon County has officially obtained designation as a Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC).

This American College Testing (ACT) 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.

“A skilled workforce is vital—it’s fundamental—for a strong and resilient economy today, and I applaud Vernon County on its success in achieving this designation,” said Mike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “This CWRC designation is a success because it signals to the business world that Vernon County’s workforce is skilled, that key players in the community can work together to achieve high aims, and that this is a place where businesses can grow and thrive.”

The announcement of the designation was made at the Nevada Regional Technical Center, a supporter of Vernon County’s CWRC efforts.

Local companies utilizing the CWRC program’s National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) in their hiring processes or internal capacities were present at the event, which included 3M, Crowder College, Platinum Aero Structures, Henry Kraft, Skills Unlimited, Insite Support Services and the City of Nevada, which has already used the credential to hire staff.

The NCRC is essentially a work-related skills credential providing objective documentation of an individual’s skills, and it’s accepted nationwide by many employers. To obtain an NCRC, people in and entering the workforce pipeline undergo testing in mathematics, reading and locating information, which then matches appropriate applicants to jobs based on skill level.

Ultimately, by strengthening the workforce, businesses and communities are better positioned to grow and be more competitive on a larger scale.

“We are very proud of the work that has been done to meet our goal for Vernon County to become a Certified Work Ready Community,” said Phillip Witt, director of the Nevada Regional Technical Center. “I believe this is a testament to the potential our community holds for business and industry growth as well as the quality of students who are graduating, ready to fill new jobs.” 

In 2012, Missouri was selected as one of the first four states to participate in the CWRC initiative, and in 2013, Jasper County, Missouri, became the first county in the nation to achieve this designation.

Missouri now has 25 fully-certified counties and 75 counties that are actively participating in the CWRC initiative.

Many parties in Vernon County came together to make the effort a success. Partners included local employers; the Nevada R-V School District; Nevada Regional Technical Center; the Nevada Campus of Crowder College; the Nevada/Vernon County Chamber of Commerce; Nevada Missouri Economic Development; Vernon County Elected Officials; the West Central Workforce Investment Board; Missouri Job Center-Nevada; and more.

By participating in ACT's CWRC initiative, Vernon 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 the local workforce.

For more information on the CWRC initiative and how to apply for certification, visit www.ded.mo.gov.

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