WINTERVILLE—It’s official: Pitt County has been designated an NC Works Certified Work Ready Community.
During a ceremony at Pitt Community College Wednesday morning, a representative from the N.C. Chamber Foundation presented PCC officials with a certificate stating that Pitt County has met Work Ready criteria. In short, it means the county has demonstrated a commitment to workforce excellence, improved its high school graduation rates, achieved the target number of National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRC), and gained assurance from employers that they will utilize NCRC assessments in their employment practices.
“Having Work Ready certification means Pitt County leaders can assure companies they have access to a qualified labor force and customized training,” says PCC Director of Business and Industry Jerry Jones. “That can be a difference-maker when it comes to attracting new business and industry.”
According to a press release from the N.C. Chamber Foundation, the Work Ready initiative is a collaborative effort aimed at leveraging data and analysis tools to promote economic growth in North Carolina. In addition to the foundation, the program involves a number of the state’s workforce development partners, including the Governor’s Office, N.C. Community College System, and the departments of Public Instruction and Commerce.
Launched statewide in 2013, the NC Works Certified Work Ready Community initiative is modeled after the successful Work Ready Communities program piloted two years earlier by N.C. East Alliance (formerly the North Carolina Eastern Region). In fact, Work Ready utilizes criteria established by the pilot program.
Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, 51 are participating in the Work Ready program and 31 of them have earned certification, which is ultimately determined by the N.C. Chamber Foundation, a policy center for the state’s largest, broad-based business advocacy organization.
“By participating in the Work Ready initiative, counties are helping business and industry communicate their workforce needs,” Jones said. “They are also letting potential workers know what skills employers require and how they can prepare themselves for success.”
Jones said Pitt County reached 100 percent of its Work Ready goals this summer, when it secured commitment from 102 local employers to recognize the NCRC – five more than the county’s goal of 97.
NCRC, according to Jones, plays a pivotal role in helping jobseekers identify their strengths and weaknesses. He added that PCC serves as an instructional and testing center for adults and transitioning youth wanting to take the assessment.
Developed by ACT, Inc., NCRC is a portable, nationally-recognized credential that can help individuals verify workplace skills and increase their employability. The test also gives employers the tools necessary to plan, screen, select, train and promote appropriate candidates.
Collectively, the information NCRC provides can prove beneficial to many groups and organizations, including public school systems, local and federal government organizations, employers and economic strategists.