Work Ready Community launch underway

Published 11:11 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Charlotte County is one of eight GO Virginia Region 3 counties committed to becoming a certified ACT Work Ready Community.

Other counties include Brunswick, Buckingham, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward.

A press release from the Institute of Advanced Learning and Research said Southern Virginia, region 3, was the first in the nation to commit to earning the Certified Work Ready Community designation.

The original six localities included Danville, Martinsville, Halifax, Henry, Patrick and Pittsylvania.

“This was a project that the school system and the county started working on about two years ago,” said Superintendent of Charlotte County Schools Nancy Leonard. “We wanted to become a work ready community to help attract industry to Charlotte County and to help our students have opportunities for employment during high school and after they graduate.”

According to the ACT Work Ready Communities website, Charlotte has currently attained about 70 percent of its goals as a locality and 26 employers in the county are supporting the initiative.

“We have two years to meet out our goals, which include significant business engagement and citizens earning a National Career Readiness Certificate, or NCRC,” said Dr. Julie Brown, Director of Advanced Learning and Research at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in the press release. “Foundational skill attainment is measured with the NCRC with the intent to link, align and match our workforce to the needs of industry in a sustainable infrastructure.”

According to the release, in order to earn the designation as a Certified Work Ready Community, the entire region must place over 5,352 individuals into the workforce who hold a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) credential in addition to partnering with 507 employers who are supportive of the region’s efforts to become a Certified Work Ready Community.

“Virginia’s Growth Alliance is thrilled to be a stakeholder in this effort,” said Jeff Reed, Executive Director of Virginia’s Growth Alliance in the release. “It is important to remember that this isn’t the end, but only the beginning in our efforts to collaboratively address the workforce challenges. We are honored to be a part of the first region within the Commonwealth to undertake the effort.”

The purpose of the ACT Work Ready Communities is to provide localities in the designated region with skilled workers for employers, said the release.

According to the ACT Work Ready Communities website, counties are able to identify skill gaps, as well as quantify their level of workforce.

“This helps educators build career pathways aligned to the needs of business and industry — and it also helps a community stand out and be recognized for its workforce development efforts,” said the website. “A strong workforce is a tremendous economic development of advantage.”