Lucas County kicked off its participation in a new program Tuesday aimed at helping job seekers prove their work-readiness by certifying their skills on a national exam.
County officials announced the ACT Work Ready program in a news conference at Government Center. The county was one of 19 in the country selected last year as a pilot for the program.
Developed by ACT, the company known for its college entrance exams, the program is being promoted by the county Workforce Development department and by employers involved in the Workforce Investment Board.
The cost of the exam is $40, but officials say they have federal grant funding that will eliminate the cost if applicants have financial need.
“We want anyone who wants to take the test to be able to do so because we know this will make our work force stronger,” said County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak.
The National Career Readiness Certificate certifies skills in applied mathematics, reading for information, and locating information.
According to ACT, research has identified those skills as essential for a majority of jobs.
Applicants start with a practice test and will have the opportunity to beef up skill areas that are lacking.
Certificates will be awarded on four levels, and can be updated. The highest is platinum, in which an applicant scores at least six in each of the core areas, qualifying him or her for 99 percent of the jobs in the occupational database; gold for a score of five, qualifying for 93 percent of jobs; silver, with a score of 4, qualifying for 67 percent of available jobs, and bronze, with a minimum score of 3 on each of the three core areas, qualifying the applicant for 16 percent of jobs in the database.
Carol Contrada, president of the Lucas County commissioners, said the goal is to certify 2,000 job-seekers and 200 businesses over the next two years.
For information, visit the county’s employment office, OhioMeansJobs Lucas County, formerly The Source, at 1301 Monroe St., or call 419-213-JOBS.