General CWRC FAQs

What is the Certified Work Ready Communities (CWRC) initiative? Current and potential employers who may consider your community as a possible worksite location will want to know about the quality of your workforce. Certification answers many questions and tells employers that workers are serious about meeting business needs. Being part of the Certified Work Ready Initiative will give your community exposure on ACT’s national website.

What does it mean if a state is participating in the CWRC initiative?  Any county in Missouri may apply. Upon review and approval, your county will be granted a Missouri Work Ready Community "In Progress" status after the application is filed and accepted. No unit smaller than a county may apply. Counties in a region may be considered for regional status only after all included counties are certified.

What does it mean when a county gets certified?  When a county reaches a "Certified" status it means that the county has a system in place to provide to employers/businesses irrefutable data demonstrating they have a process in place to deliver a quality workforce with the skills needed by companies.

What happens after certification is achieved?  After initial certification, counties will have the opportunity to continue to maintain their certification. This ensures a community continues the process toward measuring, certifying, and improving the skill level of its workforce.

What does it mean for a business to be engaged?  An employer can choose to recognize, prefer, or recommend the NCRC in support of their county becoming a Certified Work Ready Community. Businesses engaged will only be displayed in states participating in the ACT CWRC initiative.

How often is the county data updated?  NCRC county data will be updated monthly beginning in July 2012.

How will the NCRC be assigned to a certain county?  The assessment taker must have provided the county of residence and current workforce status when taking the assessment. The NCRC must be stored in ACT’s RegiSTAR.

What do we mean when we talk about workforce status?

The categories of workforce are defined as:

  • Emerging - This category consists of high school juniors and seniors, college students (technical, vocational, community college, four-year college programs) and recent (past 12 months) graduates.
  • Transitioning – This category refers to currently unemployed or currently participating in adult education or GED programs (or recently completed within 12 months).
  • Current - This workforce category means currently employed in either public or private sector.
  • Veterans - Vets discharged within the last 12 months will also be captured; they will be counted in the transitioning workforce category.

Missouri FAQs

Will being a Certified Work Ready Community help us? Absolutely!   Employers considering Missouri as their development and/or expansion location may consider your community and want to know about the quality of your workforce. Certification answers many questions and tells employers you are serious about meeting their needs. Being part of the Certified Work Ready Community initiative will also give your community exposure on ACT’s national website.

Who is eligible?  Any county in Missouri may apply. Upon review and approval, the county may be granted a Work Ready Community “In Progress” status after the application is filed and accepted. No unit smaller than a county may apply; counties in a region may be considered for regional status only after all included counties meet the certification.

How does a county achieve certification?  A county will become eligible for certification when it reaches its goals. Goals and processes are explained in the application packet and individual county goals can be found on ACT’s site workreadycommunities.org. By clicking on the Missouri map, every county in Missouri can be accessed and clicking on a specific county will display the targeted goals.

Is there a fee to apply?  No, there is no cost to apply.

How do we apply?  First, you will form a committee, as outlined in the application process. You will need a signed commitment letter (sample in packet) from each member of the local leadership team. You must submit your narrative plans for achieving the posted county goals. Submit the application with narratives and commitment letters either online or send to the CWRC Director. 

CWRC Director
PO Box 1087
Jefferson City, MO 65102
email: cwrc@ded.mo.gov
fax: (573) 751-8162

What is a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)?  The NCRC, developed by ACT, is an industry-recognized, portable, evidence-based credential that certifies essential skills for workplace success. The NCRC measures skills employers believe are critical to job success. Individuals can earn the NCRC by taking three WorkKeys® assessments. These three assessments are:

  • locating information
  • reading for information, and
  • applied math.

For additional information, visit ACT's NCRC page at: www.act.org/certificate

Where does an individual obtain an NCRC?  The certificate can be obtained as an enrolled customer at one of the 31 Missouri Job Centers. The Missouri Community Colleges may also offer this service to employers and incumbent workers. Additionally, some secondary schools and a number of vocational programs offer the certificate in Missouri.

How long will we have to meet our criteria to achieve the CWRC status?  You will have up to two years to accomplish your goals and meet the criteria to become certified.

What is the difference between a Certified Work Ready Community and a Work Ready Community "In Progress?”   The Missouri Workforce Development Board (MWDB), the Governor appointed board responsible for providing leadership to workforce development in Missouri, may grant two categories of certification. The Work Ready “In Progress” status is for communities who have not yet reached the goals set for them, but have plans in place to achieve those goals. The “In Progress” status will be granted by the MWDB after the submission and acceptance of their application. The Certified Work Ready Community "Certified" status refers to a community that has achieved its goals and been granted "Certified" status by the MWDB.

When can we apply?  You can apply at any time.  Application will be reviewed a the MWDB meetings, four times a year. For future application deadlines, please refer to the Upcoming Events on the home page.

Who will have the final determination for awarding the certification?  A review committee made up of members from the MWDB will review the application and recommend the certification status to the entire MWDB, who shall then have the final vote.

FAQs For Educators 

How do we become a WorkKeys Test Site?   A WorkKeys testing site may be a One-Stop Center, a public educational institution, or an agency using government funds to pay for its clients/students taking WorkKeys assessments. WorkKeys private sites are not licensed to resell WorkKeys assessments or services. Please call 800-967-5539 if you have interest in becoming a private test site.

Can Missouri High Schools buy WorkKeys?  Yes, they may purchase this curriculum through the Cooperative Procurement Program utilizing the State of Missouri’s pricing agreement for Contract Number C212047001.  (See below for additional information.)

Can we participate in the State of Missouri’s Cooperative Procurement Program?   The State of Missouri, Office of Administration, has awarded Contract Number C212047001 to ACT, Inc. for various products and services (see price list) including WorkKeys Assessments and Career Ready 101. A copy of the contract can be found at http://oa.mo.gov/purch/webimaging/Homepage.htm.

ACT, Inc. has agreed to Cooperative Procurement which allows members of the Cooperative Procurement Program to utilize the contract. Missouri statutes authorize the Missouri Division of Purchasing and Materials Management to provide procurement services through this program to political subdivisions and quasi-public governmental bodies. Additional information how to participate can be found on the State of Missouri’s Cooperative Procurement Program page. Costs may vary depending on your organizational status and the type of provider you choose to become.

How can we help individuals prepare to take the WorkKeys assessments to earn an NCRC or retake the assessments to improve their scores?   To help individuals prepare and improve WorkKeys scores, individuals can use KeyTrain, an interactive learning tool for career readiness skills. Modules are written specifically to help individuals master the workplace skills defined by the WorkKeys system. The KeyTrain curriculum is available to enrolled customers at all Missouri ​Job Centers, and is available in Missouri Community Colleges.  Core KeyTrain curriculum is available in English and Spanish. 

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