Six Georgia counties certified 'Work Ready' - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Six Georgia counties certified 'Work Ready'

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from the OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue today announced six new Certified Work Ready Communities, a designation showing the county has the skilled workforce that business demands and the educational infrastructure to drive economic growth and prosperity.

"Becoming a Certified Work Ready Community can be a significant and important factor in driving economic growth," said Governor Perdue. "Delivering a skilled workforce that can hit the ground running can make the difference in a company choosing to locate in a community."

The five new Certified Work Ready Communities of Excellence are Floyd, Hancock, Lowndes, Mitchell and Walker counties; and Elbert County has been named a Certified Work Ready Community.

These counties represent the seventh group to complete their Work Ready Certificate goals and have both successfully met at least the required minimum increase in their county's public high school graduation rate.

The new Certified Work Ready Communities achieved the following:

Elbert County: 939 Work Ready Certificates earned (183 percent above goal); increased high school graduation rate from 61.8 percent to 68.2 percent

Floyd County: 3,274 Work Ready Certificates earned (233 percent above goal); increased high school graduation rate from 71.4 percent to 76.6 percent

Hancock County: 209 Work Ready Certificates earned (41 percent above goal); increased high school graduation rate from 78 percent to 87.5 percent

Lowndes County: 1,235 Work Ready Certificates earned (26 percent above goal); increased high school graduation rate from 66.3 percent to 76.9 percent

Mitchell County: 408 Work Ready Certificates earned (95 percent above goal); increased high school graduation rate from 60.1 percent to 73.8 percent

Walker County: 1,518 Work Ready Certificates earned (103 percent above goal); increased high school graduation rate from 63.1 percent to 70.4 percent.

To earn the Certified Work Ready Community designation, counties must demonstrate a commitment to improving public high school graduation rates through a measurable increase, and show a specified percentage of the available and current workforce have obtained Work Ready Certificates.

Each community created a team of economic development, government and education partners to meet the certification criteria. Counties are given three years to reach the goals necessary to earn the designation.

Five additional counties – Glascock, Taylor, Warren, Washington and Wheeler – have met their Work Ready Certificate goals and continue to work to improve high school graduation rates.

To date, 28 counties have earned the Certified Work Ready Community designation and 112 others are working toward their individual goals. Once counties attain their Certified Work Ready Community goals, they are able to maintain their status by ensuring a small percent of their available workforce continue to earn Work Ready Certificates, engage local businesses to recognize and use Work Ready, and continue to increase their public high school graduation rate until they reach a threshold of 75 percent.

Once they reach 75 percent, they must sustain that graduation rate to maintain their certification status. To continue their work, each county will receive a $10,000 grant.

Their Work Ready Community teams will also receive a two-year membership to their local chamber of commerce and a budget for additional Work Ready outreach materials. Counties that are fully certified receive road signs and a seal denoting the year they achieved certification. Georgia's Work Ready initiative is based on a skills assessment and certification for job seekers and a job profiling system for businesses.

By identifying both the needs of business and the available skills of Georgia's workforce, the state can more effectively generate the right talent for the right jobs. The Certified Work Ready Community initiative builds on the assessments and job profiling system to create opportunities for greater economic development.

For more information on the Work Ready initiative please visit the Web site at www.gaworkready.org.