Mansfield —DeSoto Parish and North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) today jointly announce that DeSoto Parish has met all criteria to become a certified ACT Work Ready Community. This achievement caps a 14-month engagement process and begins a two-year growth and maintenance phase to retain certification.
The ACT Work Ready Communities initiative is designed to assist a particular area, region or state in developing its workforce pipeline to provide skilled workers for employers. The framework allows each participating community to quantify and improve the skill levels of its workforce through a standardized workforce skill credential—the ACT WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate™—supported by data updated online by Iowa-based ACT on a monthly basis.
“We congratulate DeSoto Parish for this significant achievement, and we are proud to add them to our growing list of certified ACT Work Ready Communities,” said Tony Garife, ACT Regional Manager, Workforce Initiatives. “The progressive thinking and positive action demonstrated by parish leadership shows an enduring commitment to growing the economic success of the area. As a result, local residents will begin seeing the important linkage between education and workforce development and the value of matching people to jobs.”
To begin this certification process, DeSoto Parish leaders attended the ACT Work Ready Communities Boot Camp, an executive leadership and training program designed and hosted by ACT. They then began to work toward their certification goals by building awareness, cooperation and commitment with local employers, policymakers, educators and economic developers.
“We are proud of DeSoto Parish’s designation as a Work Ready Community, which recognizes successful efforts by the community, education and business leaders to strengthen workforce training and development in order to meet the economic development needs of our community,” said Superintendent of Schools Clay Corley. “This certification proves that DeSoto Parish is committed to working together for the good of our citizens and the economic future of our community.”
“DeSoto Parish Work Ready team members, with guidance from the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, worked many hours together to make DeSoto Parish a Work Ready Community” says Steve Brown, Parish Administrator and Engineer for the DeSoto Parish Police Jury. “This national initiative will bring positive attention to both job seekers and employers in DeSoto Parish.”
The common building blocks of the initiative include:
- ACT WorkKeys® assessments: Standardized tests that measure an individual’s essential work readiness skills in applied math, workplace documents and graphic literacy. According to decades of ACT research, these foundational skills are essential for a majority of today’s jobs.
- ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate: A national credential based on assessment results and issued at the bronze, silver, gold or platinum level to indicate career readiness.
- ACT Career Curriculum, ACT KeyTrain® and ACT Soft Skills Suite training tools help individuals improve their “hard” and “soft” skill levels, as well as ACT Career Ready 101™ helps teachers bring work readiness skills into the classroom.
- Job profiles: A job analysis system that helps employers understand the specific ACT WorkKeys assessment scores required for entry into and effective performance in a given job.
“Congratulations to DeSoto Parish for becoming an ACT Work Ready Community,” said NLEP President Scott Martinez. “NLEP is pleased we could help guide and support our DeSoto Parish partners, who worked diligently to meet their certification goals.”