County nears ‘Work Ready’ goal

Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Henry County is approaching a significant milestone.

New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Corey Murphy recently reported that Henry County is now 84 percent to goal with respect to being certified as a Work Ready Community.

The EDC is leading this effort through ACT, which describes itself as “a mission-driven nonprofit organization (whose) insights unlock potential and create solutions that build education and workplace success.”

According to ACT, the Work Ready program “empowers states, regions and counties with data, process and tools that drive economic growth. Participants are leveraging the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) to measure and close the skills gap and building common frameworks that link, align and match their workforce development efforts.”

The NCRC is obtained by taking three Work Keys assessments: Applied Math, Reading for Information, and Locating Information. The assessments are given at no charge through the local Work One office.

Murphy said Henry County residents can do their part to help the community become certified.

“They can look into receiving the National Career Readiness Certificate, which is obtained by taking three assessments at the Work One office at no cost. They can go to the EDC’s Web site at nchcedc.org. We have all the information about this program there,” Murphy said.

Local businesses can also assist.

“They can sign up and support our initiative to become Work Ready. They can also explore and consider utilizing the tools this program makes available in their hiring process,” Murphy said.

Murphy said being certified as Work Ready is a recognized economic development tool.

“This is important because workforce development is critical to our local companies and to any new companies looking to invest in Henry County,” he said.

Many of the students at the New Castle Career Center are required to take the three Work Keys assessments. NCCC director Bob Hobbs explained why he thinks doing so is a good idea.

“Anytime we can have our students ready to join the workforce it’s better for them and also better for the employer. It’s a standard they are going to be expected to meet, so we try to give them experience with it so they’re better prepared to join the workforce than what other students who haven’t been in one of our programs would be,” Hobbs said.

“The thing I like about it is it allows a business to tailor it somewhat to their needs and their expectations. For example, if they need a certain level of math then they can identify that and then we can have the students work towards reaching that level,” he continued.

NCCC is one of 36 Henry County entities who have signed up as Work Ready supporters. Some of the others include Draper, Grede, Henry County Memorial Hospital, GEO, Henry County REMC, Henry County government, and the City of New Castle.

For information about taking the Work Keys assessments visit the Henry County’s Work One office at 3011 S. 14th Street, New Castle. The phone number is 765-529-3010. Work One is a partner in this effort and also offers skills remediation services if needed.