Bossier Parish Community College partners with ACT to improve local workforce

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 12:19pm

Bossier Parish Community College, in partnership with ACT®, is leading an initiative designed to build the skills of the region’s workforce by providing twenty (20) area employers with access to ACT® workplace assessments and credentialing—at no charge. Each of the participating employers will be able to measure the workplace skills of their employees or applicants, while individuals who participate will have an opportunity to earn ACT®’s National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC™) Plus—a nationally recognized, portable skills credential that certifies essential foundational skills and competencies important for workplace success.

 

“This is truly a unique partnership,” said Lisa Wargo, Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education at Bossier Parish Community College. “We will provide the testing administration; ACT® is providing the assessments and certifications; and participating employers have an opportunity to measure the skill sets of their employees or applicants—all at no cost. In the process, approximately 400 area residents will be able to document their skills and earn a nationally recognized skills credential. Everybody wins.”

 

To earn the NCRC Plus, an employee or job seeker will successfully complete four computerized assessments. Three of them measure cognitive skills—Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information—that are linked by ACT® research data to success in a broad span of jobs and occupations. Each assessment takes about an hour to complete. The fourth assessment, Personality (formerly called Talent), measures non-cognitive characteristics that contribute to job performance. It can be completed in approximately 30 minutes.

 

The objective for this national initiative—“Tomorrow’s Workforce Now”—is bridging the well-documented gap in workplace skills and jump-starting an economic revival across the nation. It will demonstrate and replicate the improvements reported by employers already using ACT® workforce solutions. These include reductions in employee turnover and training costs; significant gains in safety and morale; and opportunities to rely on standardized skills measures to inform promotion and training decisions. Tomorrow’s Workforce Now will put these proven solutions into the hands of more business leaders and inspire greater collaboration with community colleges that are dedicated to addressing the skill development needs of their communities.

 

Martin Scaglione, president of ACT®’s Workforce Development Division, congratulated BPCC for stepping up to lead the way. “The success of this initiative depends on progressive local colleges and employers,” said Scaglione. “It takes a local champion like Bossier Parish Community College to make something like this happen for the benefit of the area’s workforce, and we thank the College for leading this initiative to serve area stakeholders and strengthen the local economy.”

 

Scaglione described the initiative as a mechanism to identify and close the gap between the skills that employers need and the skills that individuals have. “Our country faces near-record unemployment. At the same time, employers struggle to find the right people for unfilled jobs because they lack evidence-based tools that aid in reliably predicting job performance. ACT® workforce solutions bridge that gap: employers know what skills an individual has, and individuals have a way to document their strengths and stand out from the crowd to earn a job or a promotion.”

 

Scaglione added, “The credentialing system ACT® has created also helps communities attract new businesses by demonstrating that they’ve created a dynamic talent pool whose skill sets have been tracked and measured against precise job requirements. Our intention is to demonstrate the value of evidence-based tools that reliably predict job performance and help individuals define their own career path.” The National Career Readiness Certificate is in active use in 42 states.

 

When the initiative was announced by ACT® in April, Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, stated, “It is increasingly clear that better alignment of employer needs with contemporary education and training is critical to ensuring a more competitive workforce. As the premier training provider and an economic engine for the nation, community colleges are essential to that alignment.”

 

Employers who wish to participate need to contact Sean Downing, Business Representative, Bossier Parish Community College, at 678-6551 or sdowning@bpcc.edu by January 28th.

 

For additional information:

- Tomorrow’s Workforce Now: tomorrowsworkforcenow.com

- ACT® National Career Readiness Certificate Plus: act.org/certificate

- ACT® WorkKeys assessments: act.org/workkeys/assess

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