For the Monroe Journal

The Monroe County Chamber of Commerce announced it has engaged in the process for Monroe County to become a certified ACT Work Ready Community. This practice demonstrates its commitment to developing a strong workforce pipeline, desirable to employers, economic developers and current and future citizens of the county.

The ACT Work Ready Communities initiative empowers states, regions and counties with data, processes and tools that drive economic growth by identifying skills gaps and quantifying the skill level of their workforce. Participants leverage the ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate® (ACT® WorkKeys® NCRC®) to measure and close skills gaps and build common frameworks that link, align and match their workforce development efforts.

To begin the Work Ready Communities process, Monroe County Chamber of Commerce leaders attended the ACT Work Ready Communities Boot Camp, an executive leadership and training program designed and led by ACT to initiate, deploy and drive carefully tailored efforts to improve the county’s work readiness. Leaders meet with local employers, policymakers, educators and economic developers to reach established goals and build a sustainable WRC model to fit community needs.

“We are checking off an area that is much needed in regard to workforce development. Kelly Martin and our task force have begun the process via various training efforts and are ready to hit the ground running to educate and implement continuous WorkKeys practices and efforts,” said Chelsea Baulch, Monroe County Chamber of Commerce executive director.

Monroe County Board of Supervisors President Joseph Richardson said workforce skills are vital in economic development.

“The leadership in the community has to be such where we recognize that workforce skills is a key component of economic development in today’s economy. Becoming an ACT Work Ready Community will help aid in our efforts as we work with the Chamber to continue to develop and maintain a skilled workforce here in Monroe County,” he said.

The number of counties joining the ACT Work Ready Community initiative is increasing.

“Congratulations to Monroe County for joining this initiative, and a growing list of counties dedicated to building a robust workforce,” said ACT Regional Manager, Tony Garife. “The determination of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce leadership to engage in this process demonstrates active partnerships between all stakeholders in the community, and will provide the county with an economic development advantage, helping them stand out nationally for their workforce development efforts.”

For more information on this initiative, go to www.workreadycommunities.org and view all of ACT’s workforce solutions at www.act.org/workforce.

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