Johnson: Bringing WorkKeys to NWLA businesses

As an advocate for your business, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce has joined with the North Louisiana Economic Partnership and other key regional partners to bring the ACT Work Ready Community initiative to Northwest Louisiana.

Locally branded as North Louisiana Ready 2 Work, the initiative helps with not only workforce development but economic development for our entire region. For this initial launch, Bossier, Caddo, DeSoto and Webster parishes have signed on to declare: We Are Ready 2 Work. Currently, more than 40 businesses have signed on to be Work Ready and three are championing the cause regionally – Omni Specialty Packaging, McInnis Brothers and DeSoto Regional Health System. Additionally, the school districts in each parish are offering students the opportunity to be tested in an array of various assessments, thus helping students to identify how they can match their strengths to the workforce.

The initiative leverages the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) to measure and close the skills gap.

Here’s how it works:

• Individuals take a ACT WorkKeys assessment: Applied Math, Graphic Literacy or Workplace Documents – or all three!

• When the person gets their results, they can see where their strengths and weaknesses lie as it relates to foundational skills required for success in the workforce. Those individuals reaching a level of Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze will receive their NCRC and be made known to employers.

• Once employers can see these assessment results, they can place employees in jobs that fit the person’s distinct skillset(s).

• For individuals, there are courses available for them to enhance skills they want to get better in, thus preparing them to increase their scores on the assessment and better prepare them for more job opportunities in the future.

• Individuals who successfully complete the three WorkKeys assessments earn the WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate® (WorkKeysNCRC®), a valuable credential for students and job seekers seeking to verify foundational workplace skills, which is awarded in four levels: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

As you can see, this initiative is a great way for employers to get the right people in the right jobs. That’s a formula to help businesses with retention and training costs – keeping employees happy in jobs they are comfortable in and stopping the cycle of turnover, which can be costly in terms of training and retraining.

How can this help your business?

The assessment helps businesses hire qualified employees from the start.  Additionally, as businesses fill out their profile of positions they offer, it helps businesses better identify their needs within the company but also for a specific position

Don’t you want to sign up your business today for better efficiency in hiring? We signed on. You should, too.

Want more details? Visit www.northlouisianaready2work.org

Lisa Johnson is president and CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce