The Jackson County Board of Supervisors announced this week that the County has become certified as an ACT® Work Ready Community. This national designation demonstrates the quality of the workforce in a community and uses real testing data to help close the skills gap and produce a workforce ready to meet the needs of current and future employers.
“Having an available, skilled workforce is the top priority for companies doing business in Jackson County or considering a move here,” said George Freeland, executive director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation. “This certification signals we as a community understand what skills employers are looking for, and we are working with our education, business and industry leaders, as well as workforce development partners to meet those demands. We are rewriting the workforce narrative by reaching the emerging workforce, engaging and educating local industries and the community at large.”
Due to the consistent and diligent work of the Jackson County ACT Work Ready Team and its many partners, the County’s required testing and business support goals were met almost a year before the deadline. Jackson County now joins 32 other counties in Mississippi who have been certified ACT Work Ready.
More than 90 employers in Jackson County recognize this initiative, which revolves around the ACT WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) Assessments. Just as the ACT exam is used to determine a student’s readiness for higher education, the ACT WorkKeys NCRC Assessments determine a job seeker’s readiness for the workplace. The test measures a range of foundational workplace skills including critical thinking, problem-solving, graphic literacy, understanding workplace documents, as well as following workplace procedures. Job seekers who pass the three main assessments earn a NCRC. If skills gaps are identified, the ACT WorkKeys curriculum helps close those gaps.
“Jackson County has one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing companies in the region and we are very proud of the workforce in this community,” said Ken Taylor, president of the Jackson County Board of Supervisors. “The County’s achievement of becoming certified by ACT as a Work Ready Community will only help advance our competitive position to secure new economic development opportunities and continue to meet any future expansion needs of existing companies. This milestone was only made possible because of the partnership and long-term commitment from all four school districts within the County, the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, the MS Gulf Coast Community College, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, as well as business, industry, and community leaders.”
For more information on this initiative, please visit www.workreadycommunities.org/MS/059.