Clay County has become the 34th Missouri county to become a certified Work Ready Community and the only one in the Kansas City area.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon recognized the county’s designation in an event Tuesday afternoon in the iWerx Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Center in North Kansas City. Certification fulfills one element of the county’s economic development strategy.
Work Ready Communities complete a series of steps under the program from ACT, which is better known for its college admissions tests.
A community earns the work-ready designation when a large enough share of its job market entrants earn the ACT certificate. They are tested on their skills in locating information, reading for information and applied math. The community designation also requires that enough employers recognize and accept the certificate, according to the program’s website.
The idea, according to ACT, is that the efforts and continuing work will link education with workforce developments, match individuals to jobs based on skills and align economic development interests for the community.
Clay County’s attainment of the work-ready certificate adds to its other economic development efforts. These include the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies, the Clay County Research Facility Task Force, Northland Education and Business Alliance, Northland Angel Investment Network and the iWerx space, set to open later this month.