Today the Harrison County community took a step for the future of workforce ready employees in their community. It was the kickoff for their county wide ‘ACT Work Ready Initiative,’ which more than 25,000 employers are a part of nationwide.
“We can’t all be rocket scientists. Someone has to build the darn things.” That’s how guest-speaker Dr. Ruth Nichols with Alcorn State University described the need for this ‘ACT Work Ready Initiative’ in Harrison County. “It’s going to boost this county to a place that it had no idea it could be economically.”
When you think of ACT you usually think of the standardized test in high school, but this is different. It tests the readiness of a future employee in multiple categories like reading for information, observation, teamwork, and applied technology. Sandy East with the Gulfport School District said, “Well we have got a lot of kids who go straight out into the work force and what this does for them is it gives them a stackable credential, gives them a certification, so that when they go to apply for a job that they have something that they can take with them.”
Jackson County and Hancock County are already work force ready communities with ACT, so Harrison County felt this was a step in the right direction. Dr. Nichols said, “This opens the doors both directions, academic and career tech, and that is where we need our people to be, where they fit.”
While the need and excitement are there, this was just the kick off. They have two years to get 479 certified and 82 employers involved. “What you go get a job for now won’t be there in the future, but if you get the skill that it takes to continue to learn, you can do anything.”
Dr. Nichols left the crowd with this: ‘when the workforce improves, everything improves.’
If you are a business who would like to get involved you can visit workreadycommunities.org and find Harrison County.