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East Central College is working with elected officials, industry representatives, leaders in economic and workforce development, chamber of commerce representatives and educators in Franklin County on the Certified Work Ready Communities Initiative.


Gretchen Pettet, ECC’s executive director of workforce development, outlined to ECC trustees at their December meeting on the statewide initiative that links workforce development to education; aligns the economic development needs of communities, regions and the state and also matches appropriate applicants to jobs based on skill levels.


“Missouri was one of seven states in the country chosen to implement this initiative,” noted Pettet. “Participation in CWRC is voluntary and over the past few weeks we have put together a 16-member leadership team for Franklin County's application to the program.


A Certified Work Ready Community means the county has job candidates in the pipeline with high-demand skills proven by the National Career Readiness Certificate. It also shows that local employers care about hiring the best and brightest our region has to offer.


Pettet stated that the National Career Readiness Certificate is a work-related skills credential, providing objective documentation of an individual's skills that is accepted nationwide. It is composed of three WorkKeys ® assessments that measure reading, locating information, and applied math skills which are critical to on-the-job success. Franklin County has a goal of 449 people attaining NCRC over the next two years. The majority of that group would be students preparing to graduate from high school, college or a career-technical education program, as well as people currently employed or seeking new employment.


“By utilizing the NCRC, Franklin County will be able to attract, retain and develop a workforce with the education and foundational skills to succeed in the 21 st century,” Pettet stated. “This is a way to quantify the skills people say they have.”


Eleven Franklin County employers have signed on as supporting businesses that agree to recognize, prefer or recommend the NCRC in hiring. The goal is 70 supporting businesses.


The committee anticipates hearing from the Missouri Division of Workforce Development about the status of the Franklin County application after the Missouri Workforce Investment Board makes their evaluation in January.


More information on Certified Work Ready Communities is available at

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