The applications of 34 counties seeking designation as an S.C. Work Ready Community In Progress have been approved by the state Workforce Investment Board.
To receive the designation, counties had to commit to a two-year initiative aimed at meeting certain goals such as improving high school graduation rates, obtaining WorkKeys assessments and National Career Readiness Certificates, and lining up support of community stakeholders.
“It’s a great thing when 34 of our counties step up to participate in the South Carolina Work Ready Community initiative,” Gov. Nikki Haley said. “Our local partners are a vital part of our team’s focus to recruit jobs for our citizens.”
By committing to the program, the counties “are setting the stage for attracting businesses to their communities and offering job seekers meaningful employment,” said Michael Johnson, chairman of the state workforce board and president and CEO of Orangeburg-based Cox Industries.
South Carolina is one of four states to participate in the ACT Certified Work Ready Community pilot program, which aims to make states more competitive and close the skills gap.
The South Carolina initiative will certify the quality of a county’s workforce based on high school graduation rates, soft skills development, business support and the number of National Career Readiness Certificate holders.
The certificate from the Iowa-based testing company ACT is a portable credential that demonstrates achievement of a job candidate’s skills in applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information.
Counties earning the In Progress status include Abbeville, Allendale, Anderson, Bamberg, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Cherokee, Clarendon, Colleton, Dorchester, Fairfield, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, Hampton, Horry, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Lee, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union and Williamsburg.