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 Career Readiness Certificate Program
helping employers, individuals and community
Certification offered

Christopher Skipper reviews the WorkKeys website. He plans to take the basic skills assessment in order to help him in the job market.

Halifax Community College’s (HCC) Continuing Education Division now offers Career Readiness Certification (CRC). The CRC program is an assessment-based credential that gives employers and career seekers a uniform measure of key workplace skills.

ACT WorkKeys®, (ACT) a nationally-recognized job skills assessment system is the administrator of the CRC program in the United States. ACT recognizes that a stronger workforce can be developed by bridging the skills gap and providing economic development tools that show the strength of the workforce.

With more than 80 percent of all jobs projected to require skills beyond those earned in high school by 2010, the program is designed to meet the needs of both employers and job seekers in a transitioning economy. The certificate, which is signed by the governor, is portable and recognized nationwide. The CRC complements other credentials and gives job seekers and employees an advantage that for career opportunities.

For employers, CRC assesses job skills via ACT WorkKeys, simplifies hiring by streamlining the application process, matching the right person with the job. This program increases the skill levels, reduces training time and has reduced turnover of existing employees. The CRC certifies to the employer that a person possesses basic workplace skills in reading for information, applied math and locating information – skills that 85% of jobs require. Employers may use the CRC as a screening, training and advancement tool.

According to ACT WorkKeys information, the program helps companies achieve their goals. Take the Campell’s Soup plant in Maxton, N.C., where about six million cans of soup are made daily. The company sought a better way to accurately measure an applicant’s work skills. Campbell’s Soup needed something that would help them find the right person for the job. The company faced a similar problem promoting incumbent workers. They would promote someone, only later to discover that the person did not meet the qualifications for the job. Campbell’s Soup now requires all applicants and present employees that apply for a new job to have a Career Readiness Certificate. This insures that a person has the necessary skills in math, reading and locating information for the job. Other companies that have the CRC program in the state include Kimberly Clarke, Sara Lee, Owens-Corning, Dow Chemical, Goodyear, Energizer, Ingersoll-Rand, and Bayer, to name a few.

For individuals, CRC increases a person’s chances for employment and promotion, focusing on employment-related competencies needed in a job. The areas of reading, math and locating information are employment-related competencies of the CRC program. There are three levels of certification: bronze, silver, and gold. A person can obtain one level and then progress to another level of certification. Certification in bronze recognizes 30%, silver 60% and gold 95% of skills needed to function in the 18,000 jobs that have been profiled in the United States.

HCC provides training that is self-paced and is offered via the Internet as well as one-on-one support on campus to help one obtain certification. When a person meets the requirements, he or she will receive a North Carolina and National Career Readiness Certificate.

"I believe the CRC is going to make a huge difference in the lives of people in the Roanoke Valley. The community benefits by being able to show skills in its workforce to attract or retain businesses. More skills equal more possible jobs and better skills equate to better possible jobs. This credential is recognized by employers across the state and nation. It's going to change lives. In these tough economic times, we are encouraging individuals to take steps that will positively enhance their job skills. The CRC will do that," said Business & Industry Coordinator/Instructor Larry Crisafulli.

The CRC is available at no cost for those who qualify as underemployed and unemployed. For more information about CRC, visit www.crcnc.org, or call the Halifax Community College Continuing Education Division’s Larry Crisafulli at (252) 538-4339 or e-mail crisafullil@halifaxcc.edu.