RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Pittsylvania County has been designated as a Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC). The nationally recognized designation by the Commonwealth and American College Testing (ACT) will help Pittsylvania County attract new businesses and jobs as it signifies job ready skill sets of the county’s high school students, job seekers, and incumbent workforce.
Speaking about the announcement, Governor Terry McAuliffe said, “Developing core workforce development skills is an essential component to building a world-class economy. I applaud Pittsylvania County for its leadership and continued efforts to prepare local workers for innovative, high-tech jobs. This certification is the foundation to attracting private sector investments that contribute to our efforts to build a new Virginia economy in every corner of the Commonwealth.”
“Communities that prioritize the workforce readiness of their residents position themselves for economic growth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “I congratulate Pittsylvania County on their achievement, and I look forward to working with the county to promote their new certification.
“The designation of Certified Work Ready Community allows employers to recognize that our workforce has the foundational skills to help their businesses prosper,” said Laurie S. Moran, CCE, President & CEO of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce. “It also provides the framework for our region to link workforce development to education, align our workforce with economic development, and match job seekers to jobs based on their skill levels. Our designation was a collaborative effort that demonstrates Pittsylvania County’s seamless and integrated workforce services for our employers and our job seekers.”
“Today’s achievement by Pittsylvania County demonstrates that when we work together as a region, great things are possible. It demonstrates to our existing employers, as well as prospective companies, that we have a trainable workforce with the foundational skills to compete,” stated Dr. Julie Brown, Program Director, Dan River Region Collaborative (DRCC).
More than 70 local employers, educational institutions, and workforce development organizations supported Pittsylvania County’s efforts to achieve this important national certification. To become certified, a county must achieve benchmarks in three areas of performance: high school graduation rate, number of National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) credentials attained in the county, and number of employers recognizing the NCRC. Amthor International, located in Gretna, Virginia and the site of today’s announcement, is just one of the companies in Pittsylvania County supporting the CWRC effort.
“Amthor International’s competitive advantage is derived from our focus on quality, delivery, and product innovations,” said Brian Amthor, Vice President. “With continued growth in our sales orders, it is critical that we have a workforce with foundational and mechanical skills that allow us to meet our customers’ requirements. By incorporating a nationally-recognized credential as part of our applicants’ assessments, we are able to hire quicker and train more effectively.”
CWRC is a voluntary initiative guided by key community leaders – local elected officials, economic development teams, business leaders, chambers of commerce, educators, and workforce development agencies. At the core of the ACT Work Ready Communities initiative is the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™ (ACT NCRC®). Since January 2006, more than 2.75 million Americans have earned an ACT NCRC®. This national, portable credential includes three essential workplace skill categories: applied math, reading for information, and locating information. The NCRC credential is administered in Pittsylvania County by Danville Community College (DCC) with multiple agencies providing referrals.
“Pittsylvania County’s workforce has been a key asset for our county as we recruit new businesses and support the expansion of our existing businesses,” commented Jessie L. Barksdale, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. “The achievement of the Certified Work Ready Community designation validates our workforce has the foundational skills that employers need to be competitive and profitable in today’s global economy.”
Matthew Rowe, Pittsylvania County’s Director of Economic Development, stated, “Today’s certification announcement not only validates the strong and tough work ethic of the County’s workforce, but also recognizes its intelligence and readiness for 21st century jobs. The workforce of Pittsylvania County, along with its Southern Virginia neighbors, is ready to roll up its sleeves, get to work, and serve as example of why the Commonwealth is a great state for business.”
In addition to Pittsylvania County, Henry County and Halifax County have been certified as Work Ready Communities. Three neighboring southern Virginia localities are on track to become CWRCs within the next four months, including Patrick County, and the cities of Danville and Martinsville. In addition, Greensville County and the City of Emporia launched their CWRC initiatives in 2015, with Cumberland County planning to launch this spring.