Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Union Parish launches ACT Work Ready Communities Certification

by BIZ Magazine

FARMERVILLE — The Union Parish ACT Work Ready Community (ACT WRC) team today publicly launched a new workforce initiative at the Union Parish Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.

The ACT WRC team, which consists of Union Parish School System, Union Parish Police Jury, Foster Farms, Union Parish Chamber of Commerce, North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP), Louisiana Delta Community College and Workforce Development Board 83, announced that Union Parish will undergo the ACT WRC certification process.

ACT WRC certification is part of a larger workforce development system, designed to assist a community, 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™.

At the same time, the community works with its employers to understand what foundational skills they need for a productive workforce. Employers can use the National Career Readiness Certificates to better screen and hire workers that fulfill their needs. Additionally, individual workers can better understand what skills are required by employers and how to prepare themselves for success.

The process kicked off June 5th  ̶  6th, when Union Parish leaders, along with Lincoln, Bienville, Claiborne, and Jackson Parish leaders, attended the ACT WRC Boot Camp in Ruston. Training for Union Parish participants was funded in part by Downsville Community Charter School, Union Parish School Board, D’Arbonne Woods Charter School, the Town of Farmerville, the Union Parish Police Jury, and the Union Parish Chamber of Commerce along with a $1,000 grant from NLEP.

Following the public launch at the August 20th Union Parish Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, the WRC team will have two years to meet its certification goals.  During that time, the Union Parish WRC team will work toward their certification goals by building awareness, cooperation and commitment with local employers, policymakers, educators, students and existing workforce.

“We all have a stake in making our parish more competitive, including closing the skills gap that hampers our economy,” said Jon McKinnie, President of Union Parish Chamber of Commerce. “Change starts at the grassroots level, supported by a community-based framework.  Our job is to bring the Union Parish employers into this parish-wide project, educate them on the results of Works Keys Testing, the significance of the certifications earned and get the employers’ participation in this project. Our goal is to provide that framework for better prepared applicants for our area employers.”

Union Parish’s goals include having a minimum of 349 students, 136 transitional workers and 34 employed workers who have earned their ACT WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate™.  Additionally, Union Parish must register at least 17 businesses who either use or support the WRC system.

For more information on this initiative, go to workreadycommunities.org. For more information on all of ACT’s workforce solutions, go to act.org/workforce.

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