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Published: Friday, 10/18/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

CERTIFIED WORK READY COMMUNITIES

Program to assess area job seekers, match to skill set

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A program developed by ACT, the company best known for its college placement tests, will be used to assess area job seekers and match them to skills needed by companies and businesses, the Lucas County Commissioners said Thursday.

Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak said Lucas County was among 16 counties from throughout the country selected to participate in the ACT Certified Work Ready Communities program, which is a data-driven system that allows employees to step into new jobs without additional training.

She said the program will build a framework to align education and training skills with work-force development and economic growth.

“We will learn where are skills are and where are gaps are,” she said. “This is big news for the county because we are on the road to a place we really have never been before.”

The 12-month pilot program developed by ACT will be administered through the Source, the county’s “one-stop center” for job seekers and employers. Clients looking for work or new careers will be tested at the downtown facility to obtain National Career Readiness Certificates.

“The ACT certification process will help Lucas County establish goals for our work force to meet,” said Carol Contrada, president of the commissioners. “We already have the tools in place. However, the ACT program’s common criteria will help build a set of strategies and priorities to propel our work force forward.”

There is no cost to the county to participate in the program.

ACT is well known for testing prospective college students to see if they are ready for university-level work.

Katie Wacker, spokesman for Iowa City-based ACT, said her company’s Work Keys assessment tests job applicants to measure their skills in math, reading comprehension, applied mathematics, and locating information. The results determine the jobs in ACT’s database for which they are best suited, she said.

Certificates are awarded on four levels. The highest is platinum, in which an applicant qualifies for 99 percent of the 19,000 jobs in the occupational database; gold for 93 percent; silver for 67 percent, and 16 percent for bronze.

Ms. Wacker said the tests can also by used by people who want to evaluate their skills to measure areas for improvement.

“If I am a job seeker or looking for a new or better job, I could take these tests and find out my strengths and weaknesses,” she said.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.



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