Earle seeks to build a better workforce in community

City partnering with regional career readiness program

By Mark Randall news@theeveningtimes.com

Earle has signed on to a regional effort program to build a more qualified workforce. The city passed a resolution to participate in the Career Readiness Certification program which will graduates with a credential showing potential employers that they possess certain job skills. “This is a unified effort to promote career readiness,” said Sherman Smith of East Arkansas Planning and Development District, which is promoting the program in a 12 county area in northeast Arkansas. The National Career Readiness Certificate is an assessment-based credential administered by American College Testing (ACT) that measures and certifies the essential work skills needed for success in jobs across industries and occupations. To earn a certificate a person must successfully complete a test in three areas: applied mathematics, locating information, and reading for information. The assessments measure working skills in the ability to perform basic math relevant to the workplace, reading and understanding documents found in the workplace, finding information presented in common workplace graphics, setting up and solving complex work-related math problems, determining the relevance of written information to work-related tasks, and applying information derived from graphics to work-related problems. Certificates are awarded at four levels based on the scores achieved in the assessment: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. More than 2.8 million certificates have been issued since the credential was introduced in 2006. Smith said a four year college degree is becoming less and less of a necessity. Certificates like this can help graduates get high paying jobs in a wide variety of fields. “I won’t say it is equivalent to a four year degree, “Smith said. “But it will speak directly to the type of credential you need to have based on the needs of a particular industry.” Smith said participating in the program will help the city both attract industry and help qualified residents find job. “When you graduate, if you participate in career readiness you will have a credential you can take to an employer and it will help your chances of getting a job,” Smith said. “And if we are trying to draw an industry to Earle the first thing they are going to ask is if you have enough qualified people. So when they check us out they will be able to go on a website and see we have X number of people in the region with these skills.”

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