UNION COUNTY — Some qualified Union County residents can help the county achieve an important economic development goal by taking and passing a test that that will also help them improve their chances of getting a job while earning $20 in the process.
The ACT National Career Readiness Certificate is earned by taking a test call WorkKeys® which measures applied mathematics, reading for information, and locating information, three subjects that help identify a person’s work skills for employers.
The testing, which has been under way in Union County for the past two months, is part of the South Carolina Work Ready Communities (SWRC) program which has the ultimate goal of having each of South Carolina’s 46 counties meet a common criteria so that each county becomes a Certified Work Ready Community.
The achievement of this goal would, according to the SWRC program, let businesses know that the counties of South Carolina and the state as a whole has “the highly skilled workforce” required in the highly competitive global economy of the 21st century. This in turn gives local economic development agencies like the Union County Development Board and their counterparts at the state level “an inventory of area workforce assets and skills that communities can advertise to attract new and existing businesses and investments. County-level data helps economic developers target their resources and address specific local opportunities for workforce engagement and improvement.”
As for the persons who take the WorkKeys® test, it provides “a base certification that says to potential employers that they are ready to take on the training to do cutting edge 21st century jobs.”
As of Monday, 45 of South Carolina’s 46 counties have completed this process and are now each a Nationally Recognized ACT Work Ready Community.
Guess which county isn’t there yet and now has less than a week to achieve that designation.
In a statement released this week, Katherine Pendergrass, Center Manager for SCWorks Union, announced that the deadline for Union County to complete the ACT Work Ready Community process is Dec. 21. Pendergrass said that to reach that goal, approximately 80 people need to take and successfully complete the WorkKeys® test before the deadline. To help encourage this, Pendergrass said a financial incentive of $20 per person is being offered to qualified individuals who take and and successfully complete the test.
“Union County is on the verge of becoming a Nationally Recognized ACT Work Ready Community,” Pendergrass said. “However, to earn that recognition, we need approximately 80 individuals who are unemployed, attending adult education, or are a veteran to take, and pass, the WorkKeys Assessment.
“Since Union County is so close to getting the certificate, money has been donated to give $20 to any adult who is unemployed or attending adult education or a veteran who passes the WorkKeys® Assessment,” she said. “We do not want Union County to be the only county in the State of South Carolina to not be recognized.”
Pendergrass pointed out that WorkKeys® testing is being held at SCWorks Union, 103 W. Main St., Union; the Union County Advanced Technology Center, 1401 Furman L. Fendley Highway, Union; and the Adult Education Center, 517 E. Main St., Union. She reiterated the benefits of taking the test for persons who looking to find a job and improve their chances of getting one.
“This assessment measures applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information,” Pendergrass said. “There is also a talent portion which can measure an individual’s work-related attitude and behavior. Once an individual passes the WorkKeys® Assessment, they will receive a National Career Readiness Certificate.
“The National Career Readiness Certificate can help individuals seeking employment stand out from the crowd,” she said. “Individuals can use the certification on their resume, or application, so when industries and businesses are looking for potential employees, they can easily identify candidates who have the necessary skills and are ready to work by their National Career Readiness Certificate.”
Pendergrass urged persons interested in taking the WorkKeys® test to contact the SCWorks Union office at 864-427-4119.
The Union County Advanced Technology Center is holding WorkKeys® testing this Thursday (Dec. 17) from 12:30-4:30 p.m. and those who take the test there will get the chance to win a trip to a popular North Carolina tourist destination.
Persons who take the WorkKeys® test at the UCATC this Thursday will also be entered in a drawing for two tickets to tour Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.
For more information contact the Union County Advanced Technology Center at 864-466-1060.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.