March 30, 2016 Edition

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County working to become
Work Ready Community

Dina Rose, chair of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, joined community leaders from six East Arkansas counties recently for the first of four ACT Work Ready Community Academies in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rose's attendance starts Lawrence County on the path toward Certified Work Ready status, which is designed to make the county more competitive in job retention and creation.

This is part of a larger, 12-county regional initiative backed by the East Arkansas Planning & Development District and the Delta Regional Authority.

The ACT Work Ready Communities (WRC) initiative is focused on equipping communities to empower their workforce toward continual improvement and marketability. Through this initiative, the workforce is encouraged to attain the ACT National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRCs).

The NCRC focuses on certifying three essential skills - applied math, reading for information and locating information. The NCRC has been proven to accurately predict work readiness and job performance.

The NCRC credential helps assure employers that the people hired and/or advanced will have the necessary skills to succeed.

In effect, counties that are Work Ready Communities have a built in economic development advantage in the eyes of existing employers as well as those contemplating relocations.

"Becoming a Work Ready Community will further our efforts for economic development by showing potential businesses that we have a skilled and capable workforce available to meet their employment needs," Rose said. "Also, current employers will benefit from hiring individuals with a Career Readiness Certificate, and job seekers, or those looking to advance within their current place of work, will increase their employability and chances for career advancement by obtaining a CRC. There are advantages for all participants of the Work Ready Communities initiative."

Melissa Rivers, EAPDD executive director, said, "EAPDD is excited to be able to help facilitate this process throughout East Arkansas. This is a tremendous step forward for our counties, the region, and our workforce. Participation in this program is a testament to the understanding of our counties that the availability of a quality workforce and the ability to effectively market that workforce determines our economic future. This certification will make each county more attractive for economic development."

For more information on getting involved in local efforts throughout the region, current efforts and progress or regional benefits of certification, contact Emily Hathcock at 870-932-3957 or ehathcock@eapdd.com.

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