5/9/2017 – Caldwell County receives N.C. Chamber of Commerce recognition for workforce readiness

Posted on: May 9th, 2017 by admin


May 9, 2017


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Caldwell County was among the first counties in North Carolina to embrace a program intended to help employers find workers who have proven abilities in certain vital skills, and local officials are celebrating the reaching of a benchmark.


Caldwell was the 18th North Carolina county to become fully certified as a “Work Ready Community,” meaning among other things that a critical percentage of workers have taken tests to receive a National Career Readiness Certificate and also that a certain percentage of employers have signed on to recognize the value of that certificate.


North Carolina Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Government Affairs Gary Salamido applauded local officials for their early embrace of the Work Ready Communities program, which is run by ACT, a company best known for administering tests to measure how well high school students are prepared for college. For the Work Ready program, ACT measures workers’ abilities related to math, reading comprehension, and the ability to find information.


The North Carolina Chamber is urging all 100 of the state’s counties to become certified within the next five years. So far 27 have.


The Work Ready program was identified by Caldwell County business and community leaders as something that could help local workforce development efforts, Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray said. The need for bolstering skills in the workforce emerged as a concern in attracting new industry following the area’s large layoffs several years ago.


“Without a qualified and credentialed workforce, we may as well go home,” Murray said.


Work toward gaining Caldwell’s certification began in 2015.


Caldwell County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Stone said that Work Ready fits with the school system’s efforts to be sure students graduate ready for whatever they decide to do next, whether it’s finding a job or continuing their education. A total of 937 students so far have received their National Career Readiness Certificate.


Murray, Stone, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute President Dr. Mark Poarch, and Caldwell Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Armstrong all praised the teamwork that has been involved in workforce development.


“This recognition in my mind is a result of one thing, and that’s partnerships,” Poarch said. “We as a community have to strengthen these ties even further.”


By Guy Lucas, (Lenoir) News-Topic


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