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3 more S.C. counties join ranks of Work Ready Communities

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Staff Report
colanews@scbiznews.com
Published Sept. 30, 2015

Three more counties have received certification through the S.C. Work Ready Communities initiative, a program that establishes workforce and education goals, the Department of Employment and Workforce said.

Calhoun, Chester and Orangeburg counties, along with 36 other counties, have now been awarded the certification. The state leads the nation with the most certified Work Ready Communities, according to DEW.

“The Work Ready initiative is providing employers with a skilled workforce, which is driving the state’s employment numbers where, in August, we saw more people working than any time in the our state’s history,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, DEW executive director.

In August, S.C. payrolls increased by 2,771 to 2.11 million workers while the labor force shrank by 5,139 to 2.25 million, according to DEW. In addition, the state’s jobless rate dropped to 6%.

To become a Work Ready Community, a county must meet or exceed goals in earning ACT National Career Readiness Certificates, which is achieved through WorkKeys testing. The county must meet or exceed the three-year graduation rate average or improvement percentage, certify the quality of workers’ soft skills development, and engage business support.

The certificate, issued 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.

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