Pike County, Missouri, recently earned Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC) status, making Missouri the leader in the number of certified work ready communities in the U.S. CWRC is an American College Testing (ACT) designation program that recognizes successful efforts by community, education and business leaders to strengthen workforce training and development in order to meet the economic development needs of their communities.
The CWRC program provides members of the workforce with National Career Readiness Certificates, a work-related skills credential providing objective documentation of an individual’s skills that is accepted nationwide by many employers. ACT has awarded more than 78,000 National Career Readiness Certificates to workers in Missouri, including more than 6,500 certificates to Missouri veterans.
The CWRC program is important because it provides potential employers with the ability to know exactly what foundational skills are available to them in a chosen area. This certainty can be a major factor in attracting new business to the state, and allows for economic development organizations to find them the best possible community to fit their needs.
Participation in CWRC is voluntary and guided by key community leaders such as local elected officials and local economic development organizations. This helps to show businesses that the communities they are considering are actively working to promote themselves and the workforces they have available.
In 2012, Missouri was selected to be one of the first four states to participate in the CWRC initiative. Jasper County, Missouri, became the first CWRC in the nation in 2013. Missouri now has more than 100 counties that are actively participating in the CWRC initiative.