Whether you’re a job-seeker or an employer, or have a vested interest in workforce development, you may have heard about the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) and the push to certify Charlotte as a Work Ready Community. But what exactly are these certifications and how can they work for you?
What is the NCRC?
In today’s economic climate, America needs a strong, skilled workforce to overcome today’s challenges. The NCRC is the work-related skills credential that complements traditional credentials such as high school diplomas, community college degrees and certificates of technical proficiency.
Issued by ACT (American College Testing), the NCRC is a portable, evidence-based credential that certifies essential skills needed for workplace success. Based on standardized assessments used by national employers for nearly two decades, the NCRC provides a uniquely fair and objective measurement of an individual’s competence in a specific set of workplace skills.
The NCRC is composed of three WorkKeys assessments demonstrated to have the greatest applicability to the widest range of jobs:
An individual must score at least a “3” on the three WorkKeys assessments to pass the NCRC. Certifications are awarded at four levels based on an individual’s overall performance:
- Platinum (indicates the skills required for approximately 99 percent of profiled jobs);
- Gold (indicates the skills required for at least 93 percent of profiled jobs);
- Silver (indicates the skills required for at least 69 percent of profiled jobs); and
- Bronze (indicates the skills required for at least 17 percent of profiled jobs).
Job-seekers: What’s in it for you?
The NCRC is a nationally recognized certification that’s portable throughout your entire career. It shows employers proof of your skills and is an additional credential you can place on your resume to set yourself apart from other job applicants. And it can help improve your success in entry-level jobs and enhance your promotability.
Employers: What’s in it for you?
You’re inundated with hundreds of applications for your few open positions. The NCRC allows you to identify applicants with verifiable, industry-accepted workplace skills. This cross-sectoral certification helps you find the most qualified applicants with the assurance that they’re equipped with the skills to be successful on the job.
Charlotte, are we Work Ready?
An ACT Work Ready Community is “one where the supply of ACT National Career Readiness Certificates earned by individuals is matched with a demand for [the] NCRC from employers who either recognize or recommend the credential:”
- recognize: employer awareness of the potential value of the NCRC as an indicator of workplace skills in hiring and/or promotion practices;
- recommend: employer requests for the NCRC in recognition of its value as an indicator of workplace skills in hiring and/or promotion practices.
In Mecklenburg County, Charlotte Works continues to serve as part of a cross-agency collaboration of leaders of government agencies, educators, workforce organizations, economic development agencies, businesses and the Charlotte Chamber. This group works to help job-seekers understand what skills employers are looking for, supports educators in preparing students for success and ensures that employers’ needs are met with skilled workers.
ACT has established population-based goals for Mecklenburg County that we must meet in order to become a Certified Work Ready Community:
- certifying 2,428 transitioning workers; and
- registering 333 employers to recognize or recommend the NCRC in the hiring process.
Help Charlotte become a Certified Work Ready Community!
If you’re a job-seeker who wants more information about the NCRC including how to access prep labs and take the test, contact James Merrick, community partnerships program director, at 704.206.1379.
If you’re an employer who wants more information about the NCRC or the ACT Certified Work Ready Community initiative, or to learn how the NCRC can benefit your business, contact Julie Paul, business services relationship manager, at 7040.206.1349. Or go ahead and join the Work Ready Community initiative!