The Certified Work Ready Communities movement is making its way westward into Southwest Kansas. Volunteers with the Joplin Regional Prosperity Initiative (JRPI) met with economic developers, employers, and educators Tuesday afternoon in Pittsburg to strategize with community leaders on the next steps.
- News coverage from KOAM-TV and Fox-14-TV
- News coverage from Pittsburg Morning Sun newspaper
- Bright Spots Academy from ACT-CWRC
- Official CWRC website from ACT
- About CWRC in Southwest Missouri
Currently, Jasper County is fully-certified under a national CWRC framework with ACT. Ottawa County in Northeast Oklahoma is certified through a state-level CWRC program. JRPI prioritized CWRC attainment for all seven of its member counties. Barton and Newton Counties on the Missouri submitted their CWRC applications in May and anticipate earning the In Progress CWRC designation later this month.
Kansas is not currently a CWRC academy state with ACT. However, the new Bright Spots initiative with ACT provides the opportunity for individual counties to apply directly with ACT to launch the framework locally. JRPI leaders are working with representatives from the current JRPI counties of Cherokee, Crawford, and Labette along with the neighboring counties of Bourbon, Neosho, and Montgomery on the feasibility and potential applications.
Following a welcome by Pittsburg mayor Michael Gray, presenters at Tuesday’s meeting included Rob O’Brian, Mark Turnbull, Jasen Jones, and Destry Brown. Kansas Works one-stop workforce centers across the southeast corner of the state currently administer the same WorkKeys tests that lead to the National Career Readiness Certificate, currently in the form of the state-level Kansas Work Ready certificate.