Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ACT Work Ready Community Academy – Class 2

The Bradley County ACT Work Ready Community Academy Team has recently returned from their second Academy training in Denver, Colorado. The Bradley County team that attended this training are Donna Lawhon, Director of Bradley County Economic Development Corporation; Angela Scroggins, Hermitage High School Counselor; and Bethany Brukardt, Potlatch Corporation Human Resource Manager. Other members of the Bradley County team that did not travel to Denver are Dr. Tracy Tucker, Hermitage School Superintendent; Jonalyn Reep, Director of SEACBEC; and Kristin Weeks, SEACBEC Adult Ed Instructor. The Bradley County Team is part of the 5-county Workforce Alliance of Southeast Arkansas.

This is the second of four Academy training sessions that is preparing Ashley, Bradley, Drew, Desha, and Lincoln Counties to become certified Work Ready Communities. During the two-day training, the county teams learned their required number of National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRC) that must be earned by each of the three measured groups; emerging (11th & 12th graders), transitioning (unemployed adults), and current (employed adults). The county teams also learned their required number of employer supporters that must be obtained. These goals must be met before the counties can be certified as “Work Ready Communities.”

During the Academy, our teams learned effective ways to reach the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) goals and the employer supporter goals. In Bradley County, Hermitage High School and SEACBEC have programs in place that will require most, if not all, high school students to take the NCRC. The efforts of our schools will ensure that Bradley County will easily meet our NCRC goals in the emerging category. The transitioning category goal may be more difficult to reach. Arkansas Workforce Services and SEACBEC’s Adult Education program have voluntary NCRC training and testing programs for those seeking employment, but at this time the numbers do not reach what we need to obtain our goals. The Bradley County Team needs to work together to encourage unemployed adults to take the NCRC which will show potential employers their skill level and their willingness to increase that skill level. To reach our county goals in the current (employed adults) category, we will need the cooperation of employers. Employers can choose to have current employees take the NCRC to aid companies in identifying employees’ skill levels. Reaching our county’s employer supporter goals requires our County Team to communicate to our existing businesses the benefits of recognizing applicants with the nationally recognized Career Readiness Certificate. Bradley County employers will be asked to sign a card of support that simply states that National Career Readiness Certificates at the bronze, silver, gold, or platinum level will be recognized when presented by an applicant.

Some may ask, “What is a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)?”  The NCRC is a nationally portable, industry-recognized credential that clearly identifies an individual’s WorkKeys® skills in reading for information, applied math and locating information. The test is scored at four levels--the lowest being bronze, then silver, gold, and the top being platinum. ACT has profiled over 20,000 national job types and identified which level is required to successfully perform that type job. A business can also have a certified ACT job profiler profile their specific jobs to determine the required skills level.

To learn more about Work Ready Communities, please visit To get involved in the Bradley County Work Ready Community initiative, contact BCEDC at 870-226-3760 or Bradley County needs your support and participation to accomplish our goals and become a certified “Work Ready Community.”

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