Golden Triangle Students Do well on WorkKeys
GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. – Five public high schools Columbus, Caledonia, New Hope, West Lowndes and West Point — in the Golden Triangle implemented WorkKeys testing as an option for juniors and seniors this spring.
Students were given the option to participate in pre-test support provided by EMCC – CMTE staff through online and classroom methods, dependent on each school’s approach and resources.
A total of 124 students took the test, and of those, 68% received a Silver or higher score. According to EMCC, historical data indicates that the 66% of test takers, almost all of whom are adults, in the Golden Triangle receive a Silver or higher score.
“These scores reveal a great deal of opportunity both for our students and for future industrial recruitment,” said Macaulay Whitaker, vice president of Internal and External Affairs for the GTR LINK. “We hope that schools will continue to offer this test to their students annually, treating it like any other mainstream career and college readiness exam.”
Starkville High may add the program next year. The Link hopes to continue to expand the program to more students build a database showing the stockpile of qualified, skilled workers in the region. That information is important to attracting new industries and helping existing companies expand.
This opportunity was provided to students through a subsidization from the Golden Triangle Development LINK Trust, a private investment group committed to the development of the region. Each high school was offered up to $5,000 to subsidize half of the students testing fee of $50.
“Our business and industry look to hire people with a silver or higher CRC for entry-level production jobs,” said Raj Shaunak, vice president of Workforce & Community Services. “These are skills that we need to provide to students before they graduate high school to enhance their potential for gainful employment.”
As defined by ACT WorkKeys, the test is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. This test is commonly used in the Golden Triangle by employers to measure trainability, among other skill sets. Test takers that achieve a Silver or higher score on the test earn ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate.
“A renowned site selection consultant informed us recently that no longer will economic development searches depend on drive-time radius to estimate workforce,” said Joe Max Higgins, Jr., CEO of the GTR LINK. “They are now asking for a communities’ WorkKeys inventory. Providing this opportunity to students is moving us in the right direction for supplying our future workforce.”
The GTR LINK and EMCC are planning an event to recognize these students for their achievements as well as provide guidance for the next steps in their career readiness planning.
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