ACT® Work Ready Communities

What is an ACT® Work Ready Community?


The ACT® Work Ready Communities initiative is a core element in the effort to build a truly national system for work readiness. At the core of this aspiration sit ACT National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRCs) that focus on certifying three essential skills – applied math, reading for information, and locating information. The NCRC is an evidence-based credential that has been proven to accurately predict work readiness and job performance. And, this predictive power applies to all three key groups of people: new workers, transitioning workers and individuals who already have jobs.

These Certificates – and the skills they verify – help assure employers that the people hired and/or advanced will succeed. The Certificates also act like passports – regardless of where an individual lives or moves, the Certificates testify to work readiness. And, because the Certificates are a win/win for employers and employees alike, counties that have sustainable, ongoing certification efforts are far more attractive. In effect, counties that are Certified Work Ready Communities have a built in economic development advantage in the eyes of existing employers as well as those contemplating relocations.

Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corporation is currently in contact with Jo Brunner, Workforce Services Supervisor of Junction City/Manhattan Workforce Centers, Kansas Department of Commerce who will help us register the students on so that the scores and certificate levels can be used as an economic tool for us and Kansas.  The certificates have the ACT National Career Readiness emblem on them and are signed by the Governor of Kansas.  Our PILOT testing was done at Onaga High School where we tested the Junior class on Tuesday January 20, 2015.

Jolie McDaniel, Student Services Specialist with Highland Community College Western Center helped with the proctoring of the WorkKeys testing in Onaga.  Her position was made possible by a Federal Title III grant that funded the new Western Center in Baileyville, KS. HCCWC uses the WorksKeys testing for both entrance and exit exams for all their students that attend and graduate from a technical program.  They are committed to helping develop and improve the Kansas workforce and expanding educational opportunities in northeast Kansas. 

The Onaga students were also given information on the importance of doing their best on these tests and how they are being given wonderful opportunities to advance their educational horizons by being able to take advantage of SB 155 career and technical educational courses while still in High School.  Also for those not planning to attend college or technical college, the WorkKeys test will be a credential they will be able to tell potential employers that they have earned. Mrs. Haug and Mrs. McDaniel shared the opportunity that these Juniors will have next year in being able to attend the technical programs offered at the HCC Western Center at no expense to them if they so choose.

Photo and article by Jessica Venneberg, Executive Assistant with Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corporation.