Forsyth County pursuing Work Ready status

Forsyth County Commissioners

Forsyth County pursuing Work Ready status
June 21
12:00 2018

There is a movement to achieve ACT Work Ready Community certification for Forsyth County that’ll help align local education and training with the skills employers need in the workforce.

County commissioners were informed about a local effort to get the certification at a briefing last week. Forsyth County Housing & Community Development Director Dan Kornelis said it addresses a large issue that companies have in finding qualified employees.

“Many companies talk about the unfilled jobs that are out there,” said Kornelis. “They can’t find the right people to take those jobs – the people are not qualified, they’re not educated in that area. This is a process that better links that supply and demand.”

A Work Ready community means local education and training will teach skills needed in the local workforce, starting in early high school. It aligns the economic development needs of communities and helps match applicants to jobs they’re qualified for. The certification will help Forsyth attract employers who are looking for a skilled workforce.

ACT is a national nonprofit that focuses on college and career readiness. For individuals, ACT offers a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) that certifies their proficiency in applied mathematics and graphic literacy along with understanding and applying written information from work place documents. In North Carolina, more than 417,573 people have these certificates and 22,814 employers have agreed to use them in their hiring practices.

To become a Work Ready community, Kornelis said a local team will be formed with representatives from Forsyth Technical Community College, the school system, Winston-Salem Chamber of  Commerce and others that’ll come up with a plan to achieve certification. Letters of support will be gathered and an application will be filed with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, which is a state partner agency in the Work Ready initiative.

To become a Work Ready county, Forsyth will need to meet goals on how many people have NCRCs, how may employers will accept NCRCs and high school gradation rates. The county far exceeds the required number of residents who have NCRCs. On employers, only 12 have signed on, when the goal is 225. For the 2016-2017 school year, the graduation rate was 86.5 percent. The requirement would be for the graduation rate to be at least 94 percent or be at least 75 percent with average annual increases of 1 percent over the past five years.

Currently in North Carolina, there are 33 Work Ready certified counties, including Guilford and Davie counties and 22 counties participating in the process of being certified.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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