What do WorkKeys and Work Ready Communities Mean to Companies in S.C.?
ACT WorkKeys is a skills assessment that helps employers select and hire a skilled workforce. In short, it's a series of tests that measure foundational and soft skills. Through profiling the skills necessary for success in specific jobs, WorkKeys can also provide employers assistance with employee selection and development.
Three basic WorkKeys tests are commonly selected by companies to evaluate potential and existing employee skill levels. These are Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information. In addition to these, WorkKeys also offers tests in Applied Technology, Business Writing, Listening, Observation, Readiness, Teamwork, and Writing.
WorkKeys assessments measure “real world” job skills— combining measures of cognitive skills with measures of soft skills.
The WorkKeys Job Profile
The WorkKeys profile is an assessment of any job to determine the skills and skill levels necessary to perform that job successfully. Trained WorkKeys Profilers are able to evaluate and determine skills standards for a job as related to the WorkKeys assessments. For example, a company may choose to have a production job profiled. If it is determined that the particular job would require someone to be proficient in basic math, the job profile would reflect that. In turn, the employer is able to set a specific WorkKeys score requirement for those applying for a position and is also able to measure the skillset of those currently in a specific position.
What are ACT Certified Work Ready Communities?
ACT Certified Work Ready Communities (CWRC) allows communities to assess their workforce and industry needs to identify skills gaps and work to close them. CWRC also seeks to train and implement successful economic development initiatives based on WorkKeys assessment tools. The state of South Carolina has joined several states from across the nation to pilot this initiative.
CWRC utilizes the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) to help meet workforce development needs. This certificate is a credential that demonstrates a person’s skills level through ACT WorkKeys testing. A NCRC can be earned in applied mathematics, locating information, and reading for information. Certificate levels include: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. During WorkKeys testing, cognitive skills and soft skills assessment come together to rank individuals in work discipline, teamwork, customer service orientation, and managerial potential.
The goal of Work Ready Communities is to put NCRCs in the hands of prospective employees—assisting them in finding jobs and assisting companies in finding skilled workers. Through Work Ready Communities, NCRC certificate levels earned and job profiles completed are both tracked to give a true picture of the “work-readiness” of a particular community, state, or even the nation as a whole.
For more information about WorkKeys in your region, or to schedule a test, contact Piedmont Technical College's Continuing Education office.