On Wednesday, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announced that the county has achieved ACT Certified Work Ready Community status (CWRC) certification.
States, counties, and economic development agencies across the United States have adopted the ACT Work Ready Communities program to provide employers evidence of a skilled workforce.
According to Stenger’s office, St. Louis County is the largest county by population in the United States to achieve work ready certification. Currently, 323 companies in the county support CWRC such as Boeing, Ameren and Sprint.
“The Certified Work Ready Designation is a game changer,” Stenger said in a written statement. “With this tool, businesses know that the skilled workers they need for a productive workforce are readily available in St. Louis County. Also, individuals who want to enter the workforce understand what skills are required by employers & how to prepare themselves for success.”
CWRC is partially based on the number of individuals in the St. Louis County workforce that demonstrate proficiency in applied mathematics, understanding workplace documents and graphic literacy.
ACT sets a target number of individuals that must demonstrate through testing that they meet these criteria in order for a county to be awarded certification. Test results showed that St. Louis County has three times the number of highly proficient workers required for certification.
In addition to those currently employed in the public and private sector, the CWRC test group included high school juniors and seniors, college students (technical, vocational, community college, four year college programs) and recent (past 12 months) graduates.
A group currently unemployed or participating in adult education and GED programs was also assessed.
According to Stenger’s office, achieving ACT Work Ready certification was a collaborative effort in St. Louis County, involving partnerships with municipalities, school districts, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, workforce development professionals, economic development organizations and labor.
“We as educators are thrilled about the CWRC achievement in St. Louis County,” said Dr. Jeff Pittman, Chancellor of St. Louis Community College. “We have a dedicated training center where students are learning the skills that make them Certified Work Ready. After completing our program, they are prepared to enter the workforce and make an immediate contribution to their respective companies.”
Many people recognize ACT from their work with college testing. ACT has also been involved with workforce development for more than two decades. In 2012, Missouri was selected to be one of the first four states to participate in the CWRC initiative. Missouri now has 51 Certified Work Ready counties and 36 others are working toward certification.
For more information on CWRC in St. Louis County visit https://workreadycommunities.org/MO/189.