Friday, March 22, 2013

Schools' role in Work Ready Communities

For nearly two years, communities across the commonwealth have been working to become more attractive to businesses who may consider locating there. It’s been good for counties and an opportunity for schools. Governor Beshear announced the Work Ready Communities initiative in August 2011. Below are highlights from that announcement.

Thanks to the launch of Work Ready Communities by the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (KWIB), Governor Beshear announced today that Kentucky counties can now be certified as "work ready" based on the quality of their labor force. The new program is designed to transform local economies and give counties a competitive advantage in attracting new businesses and jobs.

“We have business and industry in Kentucky that require a skilled workforce. This program provides us with a way to prove it, county by county,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “In addition, the program promotes collaboration among key community stakeholders including education, economic development, elected officials, employers, workforce agencies and community organizations as they work toward common community goals.”

Earning Certified Work Ready Community status assures that local workforces have the talent necessary to staff existing jobs and to master the innovative technologies new jobs will require in the future.

Each community must gather local support and commitment and apply for the Work Ready Community designation. To earn certification, counties will have to meet established criteria in six specific areas:

*high school graduation rate
*National Career Readiness Certificate holders
*demonstrated community commitment
*educational attainment
*soft skills development
*digital literacy

Already, several counties have met the criteria and been certified Work Ready. Other are in the process of doing so. The Work Ready Communities initiative is an excellent way for superintendents and school boards to work with local leaders to focus on college and career readiness.

I strongly encourage superintendents and school boards to participate in this work since this collaboration will most certainly improve the high school graduation rate and the college/career ready rate in the district and have a positive impact on school accountability.

Work Ready Communities will improve the economic future of children and our state. 

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