HREDC receives grant funds for student assessments

Corey Mehaffy, executive director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council announced Nov. 6 that his organization received approval from the Office of Workforce Development for grant funding through the Certified Work Ready Communities Program. 

The approved funds will be used to provide payment to ACT for the three core WorkKeys assessments (Applied Math, Graphic Literacy and Workplace Documents). 

These assessments will be provided to students at: Hannibal PSD 60, Ralls County R-II, Palmyra R-I and Marion County R-II for testing of approximately 150 students. 

According to Mehaffy, HREDC has been awarded $5,000 to be used for testing high school students in Marion and Ralls counties. 

“The HREDC Workforce Development Committee is grateful to Office of Workforce Development, and Director Mardy Leathers, for providing this important funding for our students,” Mehaffy said. “We would also like to thank our area school districts for their willingness to offer students the opportunity to participate in this program as well as the staff of the Hannibal Job Center for their work to schedule and proctor the tests.

“Our schools are preparing students for life beyond high school, including their careers. As they begin to seek employment, the NCRC can help them stand out from other applicants. 

“Savvy employers prefer applicants with the NCRC as it is a work-related skills credential, providing objective documentation of individual’s skills that is accepted nationwide and can often be a predictor of future job performance.”

Marion and Ralls counties both achieved official designation as a Certified Work Ready Communities in 2019. The initiative helps communities validate skills and knowledge of their workforce to the business community.  

“The CWRC program allows us to understand the strengths and weaknesses of our labor base so that we can support our local and regional employers and assure quality employment for current adult workforce and our emerging younger workforce,” Mehaffy said.

The foundation of a community’s certification is based on individuals at the county level across the current, transitioning and emerging workforce earning an ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate® (ACT® WorkKeys® NCRC®) and employers recognizing the ACT® WorkKeys® NCRC®. 

The ACT® WorkKeys® NCRC® is a portable, industry-recognized credential that clearly identifies an individual’s WorkKeys® skills in workplace documents, applied math and graphic literacy – skills required for 77 percent of jobs based on ACT JobPro database.

By participating in ACT’s® Work Ready Communities initiative, counties, regions and states are helping:

• Business and industry know exactly what foundational skills they need for a productive workforce – and to easily communicate their needs

• Individuals understand what skills are required by employers – and how to prepare themselves for success

• Policy makers consistently measure the skills gap in a timely manner at the national, state and local levels

• Educators close the skills gap, via tools integrated into career pathways with stackable industry-recognized credentials

• Economic developers use an on-demand reporting tool to market the quality of their workforce

According to Mehaffy, the strength of this program is in the community partnerships. 

“We are very grateful for the participation of many of our Marion County and Ralls County employers, job seekers, the Missouri Job Center in Hannibal, the Northeast Missouri Workforce Development Board, the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce and the dedicated staff of the various Marion County and Ralls County school districts for making it possible to achieve this certification,” Mehaffy said.

For more information on the ACT’s® Work Ready Communities initiative, please visit the ACT Work Ready Communities website at https://www.workreadycommunities.org/ 

HREDC works to promote financial investment in Hannibal, and Marion and Ralls counties.  For more information on the organization, please visit their website at www.hredc.com.