Jasper County, Missouri, was the first Work Ready Community in the nation, obtaining its work ready status in 2013, and the Joplin metropolitan statistical area was the second MSA in the US to be certified. As noted recently by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, this is all thanks to the leaders of the Workforce Investment Board, and the chambers in Webb City, Carthage, Neosho and Joplin, their members and area schools supporting this endeavor.
But what is a Work Ready Community? The purpose is to align workforce training programs with the economic development needs of communities, matching the appropriate applicants to jobs based on skill level and giving businesses a more quantifiable workforce assessment tool with which to evaluate local labor pools. That means employees and employers win when the properly trained people fill job vacancies.
Site Selection Magazine published an article profiling Missouri’s success with Certified Work Ready Communities. Commending the Show-Me State as one of the most active in the nation, the article included a testimonial from Kingsford Manufacturing.
“To stay competitive today and in the future requires talented and engaged employees who think like business owners and drive continuous improvement,” said Steve Miller, plant manager of Kingsford Manufacturing, on March 18th, when Maries County, south of Jefferson City, in south central Missouri, was certified. “Through the Missouri Career Center and the Work Keys testing program [for earning National Career Readiness Certificates], we’ve been able to find people with the right skills who can help us continue to be a successful operation, great place to work and a strong community partner.”
The article appears in the July 2016 edition of Site Selection Magazine and may be found online at http://siteselection.com/issues/2016/jul/missouri-counties-race-for-work-ready-status.cfm. According to the most recent trends by ACT, more than three thousand Missouri employers endorse the National Career Readiness Certificate, a hallmark of CWRC.