Craven County, NC Earns WorkReady Community Designation

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Another community in Eastern North Carolina has reason to celebrate the state of its workforce. Craven County, home to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, is the latest community to be certified as WorkReady.

Craven County WRC Announcement.jpgAnother community in Eastern North Carolina has reason to celebrate the state of its workforce. Craven County, home to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, is the latest community to be certified as WorkReady.

Largely funded by the NC Rural Economic Development Center, the initiative is under leadership and direction from North Carolina’s Eastern Region (NCER) a regional economic development organization that will be dissolved June 30, 2013. During its 20-year history, NCER has been dedicated to increasing regional capacity to support long-term economic growth and create opportunities which have and immediate and/or transformational impact upon the area economy.  WorkReady Communities builds upon the highly acclaimed ASPIRE initiative funded by the Eastern Region since 2009;  more than $1 million has been given to its eleven community colleges to support the growth of the WorkKeys Job Profiles and Career Readiness Certificates across the region.

“We are very pleased to declare Craven County as a Certified WorkReady Community. We are committed to workforce development as a priority to attract and retain industry and strengthen the regional economy. Without a strong network of partners and funding from the NC Rural Center such an accomplishment would not be possible,” said Kathy Howard, Vice President for Workforce& Client Development, NCEast Alliance.

Communities can earn the designation by achieving certain standards, displaying their commitment to workforce excellence. The partnership must: 1) receive a pledge from 10 of the 20 largest employers to utilize the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) in employment practices; 2) have a minimum of 5% of the labor force possessing a CRC; 3) have a minimum high school graduation rate of 70%; and 4) increase the high school graduation rate by 1% each year. 

Not only does WorkReady Communities benefit the incumbent workforce and existing industry but it will play an important role in the ability to recruit new industry as well. 

“Investing in the workforce is one of the most effective ways to improve our local economy. The availability of a trained and trainable workforce continues to be the leading factor for companies when they are looking for a new location,” said Timothy Downs, Director, Economic Development, Craven County. 

BSH Appliances Corp, Carolina Technical Plastics, CarolinaEast Health System, Fleet Readiness Center East, Moen and Weyerhaeuser are just a few of the employers in Craven County who recognize the value of the CRC for employment decisions.

“FRC East was one of the first employers in eastern North Carolina to use the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) for hiring, beginning in 2006. Since then, we have used CRC assessments more than 200 times,” said Dwayne Oglesby, Mentoring and Leadership Programs Manager, Supervisory Training at Fleet Readiness Center East.

“The assessments indicate that potential employees possess a minimum proficiency level in math, reading, and locating information, which are considered to be ‘workplace-ready skills.’  We encourage applicants to include these results in their resumes on the USAJobs website.  Current employees can also use the assessments to identify areas of improvement to strengthen their qualifications for future opportunities,” Oglesby added. 

As part of the WorkReady program, employers are able to take advantage of a free job portal which connects them to job seekers in eastern NC (www.ncworkready.com). More than 150 employers have access to the portal which serves any industry and any level of job seeker. 

The NCEast Alliance will succeed North Carolina’s Eastern Region as the lead economic development organization serving eastern NC.  The Alliance is a private, not-for-profit economic development agency serving more than 1 million residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at www.nceast.org or call 1-800-474-8499.