St. Louis County, Missouri, recently earned Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC) status bringing the total number of fully certified counties in Missouri to 51. CWRC is an American College Testing (ACT) designation program that recognizes successful efforts by community, education and business leaders to strengthen workforce training and development in order to meet the economic development needs of their communities.
“The Certified Work Ready Designation is a game changer,” said County Executive Steve Stenger. “With this tool, businesses know that the skilled workers they need for a productive workforce are readily available in St. Louis County. Also, individuals who want to enter the workforce understand what skills are required by employers and how to prepare themselves for success.”
The CWRC program is important because it provides potential employers with the ability to know exactly what foundational skills are available to them in a chosen area. This certainty can be a major factor in attracting new business to the state, and allows for economic development companies to find them the best possible community to fit their needs.
Participation in CWRC is voluntary and guided by key community leaders such as local elected officials and local economic development organizations. This helps to show businesses that the communities they are considering are actively working to promote themselves and the workforces they have available.
The CWRC program provides members of the workforce with National Career Readiness Certificates(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 more than 84 counties that are actively participating in the CWRC initiative.