McDonald & Nodaway counties have become the latest in the long line of Missouri counties to earn Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC) status. CWRC is an American College Testing (ACT) designation program that recognizes successful efforts by community, education and business leaders working with the Missouri Division of Workforce Development to strengthen workforce training and development in order to meet the economic development needs of communities.
“The Certified Work Ready Community program is a great way to assess the skill level of our existing and emerging workforce. This program allows us to firmly understand the strengths and weaknesses of our labor base so that we can shape local workforce efforts,” said Joshua McKim of Nodaway County Economic Development. “In addition, the CWRC is a great tool for the recruitment of investment, whether you are dealing with new or existing employers.”
Participation in CWRC is voluntary and guided by key community leaders such as local elected officials and local economic development companies. This helps to show businesses that the communities they are considering are actively working to promote themselves and the workforces they have available.
Additionally, as career readiness factors into national high school rankings, McDonald County High School was ranked as one of the nation’s top high schools by U.S. News & World Report. The school’s boost came after its high school students tested for National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRCs), which are part of the CWRC certification.
“McDonald County R-1 schools are very proud of our work ready partnership with the McDonald County Chamber of Commerce,” said Angela Brewer, Assistant Superintendent of the McDonald County R-1 School District. “Our goal is to graduate college and career-ready citizens: Every Child, Every Day, Whatever It Takes!”
The CWRC program provides members of the workforce with the NCRCs, a work-related skills credential providing objective documentation of an individual’s skills that is accepted nationwide by many employers. ACT has awarded more than 78,000 National Career Readiness Certificates to workers in Missouri, including more than 6,500 certificates to Missouri veterans.
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 81 counties that are actively participating in the CWRC initiative and 36 fully certified counties.