Kentucky Opens Work Ready Certificate, Eight Counties Apply

by Devin Katayama on January 16, 2012

Jefferson County is not among the eight Kentucky counties that recently applied for a new certificate used to attract businesses. Although Louisville is a major business hub, it may not meet the benchmarks set by the Work Ready Communities program.

The ACT, often referred to as a college entrance exam, has begun offering the work ready certificate, which signals to potential businesses that the county’s students meet certain work-ready benchmarks.

“It’s something they should be proud of. It’s something that is going to help us when we are recruiting business to the area to show what our skill levels are in certain areas and I think it’s going to be a great marketing tool for every county that receives a certification,” said Crystal Gibson, chair of Kentucky’s Workforce Investment Board (KWIB).

Kentucky was among the first states to adopt the Work Ready Communities program and KWIB began the application process last week meeting with eight counties that applied, said Gibson.

Jefferson County is still in the preliminary stages of deciding whether to apply, said Mayor Greg Fischer.

“I respect the counties that are taking time also to develop a strong plan and come to us when they are prepared with the appropriate information and clear directives for the next five years,” said Gibson.

Jefferson County may have to boost its high school graduation rates to apply. The certificate requires an 82 percent high school graduation rate. Jefferson County’s rate is around 72 percent. Counties can apply without meeting the marks, but must provide a plan for completion.

The board will meet every quarter to review applications.

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