Employers in Craighead County now have one more tool to identify highly skilled workers for their companies. Craighead County is now an ACT Work Community, according to Jonesboro Unlimited.
The purpose of establishing an ACT Work Ready Community is to close the skills gaps between potential employees and the needs of employers. Nationwide, more than 400 counties and 21,000 employers participate in the ACT Work Ready Program. Currently, 4.4 million people have attained their ACT Workkeys National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). An NCRC certificate has four levels – platinum, gold, silver, and bronze.
The goal set for Craighead County was 2,125 NCRC holders. There are 3,125 people in Craighead County have earned their NCRCs of whom 84% hold silver, gold, or platinum certificates, according to JU. Additionally, 68 employers in Craighead County recognize or recommend the NCRC.
“Jonesboro and Craighead County are a great example of what’s right with Arkansas. Becoming an ACT Work Ready Community will make Jonesboro and Craighead County even stronger,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.
Craighead County began the process of becoming a certified Work Ready Community two years ago. Shelle Randall, the Director of Workforce Development and Existing Industry for Jonesboro Unlimited, spearheaded the effort.
“Craighead County is blessed to have great employers that have built successful companies because of their talented employees. Becoming an ACT Work Ready Community ensures the steady stream of skilled workers in Craighead County will continue,” Randall said.
A qualified workforce is imperative to a community’s sustained economic growth, those communities that meet the criteria to be a Work Ready Community have one more way to market themselves to future investors, she said.
Jonesboro Unlimited was formed in 1986 to advance economic development in Jonesboro and Northeast Arkansas. About 100 local businesses joined to create the organization and it came at a time when food processing was identified as a good fit for the region. It’s part of the Jonesboro Economic Development Corporation (JEDC), a non-profit organization.