Claiborne Parish launches ACT Work Ready Communities initiative

HOMER — The Claiborne Parish ACT Work Ready Communities (ACT WRC) team publicly launched a new workforce initiative on Aug. 26.

The ACT WRC team, which consists of Claiborne Parish School System, Claiborne Parish Police Jury, Claiborne Parish Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s Offices of Homer and Haynesville, North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP), Northwest Louisiana Technical Community College, Claiborne Electric Co-op and the Coordinating & Development Corporation, announced Claiborne 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 5 ̶ 6, when Claiborne Parish leaders, along with Lincoln, Bienville, Jackson, and Union Parish leaders, attended the ACT WRC Boot Camp in Ruston. Training for Claiborne Parish participants was funded by the economic development committee of the Claiborne Parish Police Jury, Claiborne Parish Schools and a $1,000 grant from NLEP.

Following the public launch on August 26, the WRC team will have two years to meet its certification goals. During that time, the Claiborne Parish WRC team will work toward their certification goals by building awareness, cooperation and commitment with local employers, policymakers, educators, students and existing workforce.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with the North Louisiana Economic Partnership and other community stakeholders to educate the entire Claiborne Parish community about the value of the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness certificates,” said Claiborne Parish Schools Superintendent William Kennedy.  “Many of our students have already begun the process of acquiring these certificates and other industry-based credentials to become work-ready for job opportunities within Claiborne Parish and surrounding areas.  Workforce data has indicated trending job opportunities for students holding these credentials for the coming years.  We are working to prepare our students for these careers upon graduation.  The WorkKeys certificate is a significant part of these preparation programs and opens the door for employment opportunities.”

Over the last two years, 278 Claiborne Parish high school students have scored high enough on the WorkKeys test to earn the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate.  Employers in and around Claiborne Parish need to understand how to use this certificate in evaluating these students, now graduates, as potential employees. There are many case studies showing how companies in a variety of industries save time and money from improved retention and lower training costs when they use WorkKeys as a tool for hiring the right person for the job.

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