iWORK Investment in Workforce Opportunities and Readiness in Kansas
For the past year representatives from McPherson (Elaine Farres – McPherson Co. Learning Center/ESSACK, Amy Beckman – McPherson CHS, Kasi Morales – McPherson Industrial Development Co., and Jennifer Burch –McPherson Chamber of Commerce) who make up the iWORK team have attended quarterly ACT Work Ready Communities academy trainings. Each academy session focused on the steps to be designated a ACT Work Ready Community. McPherson was the only team from Kansas that participated with representatives from West Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama working to get their county, city or region certified as an ACT Work Ready Community. McPherson is starting in a different place in the process than any other community by taking the school districts C3 initiative and carrying it to the next level of acquiring national certification by ACT. Most communities, counties, regions focus is on the economic development benefit of the ACT Work Ready Community designation, where McPherson’s purpose began with educational preparation of our youth being Citizenship, College and Career Ready (C3). The 2016 graduating class from McPherson High School will be the first class that has been preparing the past 4 years under the C3 initiative. All seniors graduating will have earned the required credits, in addition to obtaining an ACT Career Ready Certificate at the silver level or above as a requirement of graduation. The ACT Career Ready Certificates have 4 levels;
Bronze – an individual achieving this level possesses core academic skills for approximately 30% of the jobs profiled by WorkKeys in these skill area.
Silver – an individual achieving this level possess core academic skills for approximately 70% of the jobs profiled by WorkKeys in thse skill area.
Gold – an individual achieving this level possesses core academic skills for approximately 90% of the jobs profiled by WorkKeys in these skill areas.
Platinum – an individual achieving this level possesses core academic skills for approximately 99% of the jobs profiled by WorkKeys in these skill areas.
The test is a reliable and nationally validated system evaluating and analyzing real workplace skills. The test measures an individual in three skill development areas:
Applied Mathematics – measures the skills people use when applying mathematical reasoning and problem-solving techniques to work-related problems.
Locating Information – measures the skill people use when they work with workplace graphics such as charts, graphs, tables, forms, maps, diagrams, and instrument gauges.
Reading for Information – measures the skills people use when the read and use written text to do a job such as memos, letters, directions, policies and regulations.
Because of the innovative thinking of our school district McPherson students will be more prepared for continuing their education or entering the workforce. Whatever path they choose the ACT Career Ready certificate will go with them as an added credential.
Several of our industrial businesses (CHS and Johns-Manville) “Require” a minimum silver level certificate in their hiring. (To require a specific level, an ACT authorized Job Profiler must conduct a customized analysis of the job to identify specific ACT WorkKeys skills level for the position).
The following businesses agree to “Recognize” the Career Ready Certificate as one tool in their hiring, promotion and training practices; McPherson County, City of McPherson, McPherson Business Solutions, Viega, and Welco Services.
The following businesses agree to “Recommend” and prefer that candidates have earned the Career Ready Certificate as one tool in their hiring, promotion and training practices and prefer that candidates have earned a certificate.
The iWORK team is working to help employers know the benefits of using the Career Ready Certificate in their hiring process. If you would like to learn more please feel free to contact Jennifer Burch at 241-3303.