Missouri is committed to providing companies with the most prepared workforce in the U.S. and communities across the state are prioritizing workforce development. Recently, Laclede County became the 85th community in Missouri to earn the ACT Certified Work Ready Community Status.
“The educators, employers, and policymakers of Laclede County have built a strong pipeline between schools and businesses,” said Missouri Governor Mike Parson. “Receiving ACT Work Ready certification shows Laclede County’s commitment to its community members and building a skilled and prosperous workforce.”
The Work Ready Community initiative empowers counties throughout the U.S. to identify skill gaps and quantify the skill level of its workforce. This helps educators build career pathways aligned with the needs of local businesses.
“We see Missouri as a model for the country in championing workforce development, and thank Governor Parson in particular for his commitment to developing a skilled and qualified workforce in communities throughout the state,” said Fred McConnel, Senior Director of Workforce at ACT. “As we begin to rebuild economies in a post-COVID world, recognizing the value of the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) will open many doors for job seekers by providing another tool in their toolbox. We’re excited to deepen relationships with states, communities and job seekers across the nation to bring workforce success to all.”
In order to be considered for the designation, communities must obtain support from a determined number of businesses in the community and the workforce must earn a certain number of ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificates. More than 138,000 ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificates have been granted in Missouri, with nearly 4,500 employers supporting the initiative.
“Creating job opportunities and building a strong workforce starts at the local level,” said Dr. Mardy Leathers, Director of Workforce Development in Missouri. “The workforce leaders of Laclede County have prioritized working with educators and businesses to create opportunities for workers in their community. This certification continues to put Missouri at the front of the pack.”
In 2012, Missouri was selected to be one of the first states to participate in the CWRC initiative, and in 2013, Jasper County in Missouri became the first CWRC in the nation.