HGTC says WorkKeys, Work Ready are game changers for job seekers

Greg Mitchell looking at paperwork for WorkKeys on January 25, 2017 (Erin MacPherson/WPDE)

Right now, South Carolina is ahead of the curve when it comes to helping people find jobs.

It's all thanks, in part, to a combination of Work Ready community and a work keys program.

The WorkKeys program has been around for about 20 years. In South Carolina, it's been around for about 15 years.

"WorkKeys is a skills assessment test that employers use," said Pat Kleber, Administrative Coordinator for Work Force Development and Continued Education at Horry Georgetown Technical College.

Kleber said the test is free for anyone in South Carolina, at least for the first time you take it. She said it focuses on three components, "reading for information, locating information and applied mathematics."

"Those skills are utilized by about 98 percent of businesses. So what WorkKeys assist those companies in identifying those individuals with the foundation work place skills and we build upon those skills," said Greg Mitchell, The Vice President of the Work Force Development and Continued Education at Horry Georgetown Technical College.

Once you pass the test, you get a National Career Readiness Certificate.

Mitchell said, "that's portable document that is very valuable. And matter of fact, a lot of states and a lot of industry are requesting that credential, the NCRC."

Just recently, this area became a Work Ready community. Last year, Governor Nikki Haley announced the entire state of South Carolina became Work Ready.

"Tech took the lead on Horry and Georgetown County. Both Horry and Georgetown County are considered Work Ready communities," said Kleber.

Being a Work Ready community is all about connections, according to Mitchell.

"Coming together of work force development, economic development, and education. All singing off the same page," said Mitchell.

Mitchell said having both the Work Ready community and WorkKeys is a game changer.

"When you got vetting, companies looking at moving into this community, they need to know, where are my next quality work forces coming from, where am I going to get my next labor force from? Communities that don't have that designation, its a bar fight," said Mitchell.

The following statement was given to WPDE by Josh Kay, the President of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.

“The South Carolina Work Ready program is a very important tool in our economic development program. This initiative and the associated measurements, allow us to validate to prospective industries that we have a workforce that meets their needs so that they can successfully operate for years to come. Additionally, it allows existing industries the opportunity to partner with our local education partners in evaluating and implementing programs and services that improve students’ learning outcomes and ultimately employment opportunities. This initiative is a win-win program for students and for businesses.”

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