Washington County is Maryland’s first certified ACT Work Ready Community | Hagerstown Community College
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Washington County is Maryland’s first certified ACT Work Ready Community

Workforce Solutions & Continuing Education

Washington County is Maryland’s first certified ACT Work Ready Community

Five years ago, Hagerstown Community College President Jim Klauber proposed the idea of Washington County working to achieve ACT Work Ready Community status. That goal is now a reality, with 106 businesses having signed up to participate in the program. 

“I’ve seen the success of this program first-hand in other communities and I’m excited to watch its positive impact here,” said Klauber. “These businesses are quickly seeing the value of working with this designation. The power of broad partnerships, using WorkKeys NCRC and attaining the ACT Work Ready Community designation, will take our economic development to the next level.”

The initial community stakeholders, which included HCC, Washington County Department of Business Development, Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Washington County Free Library, Washington County Public Schools, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, and Western Maryland Consortium, attended a conference in Little Rock, Ark., in 2019, to learn more about ACT Work Ready Communities. Since that time, they have been taking the lead to attain commitment from the 85 businesses needed to earn the designation. 

The national program focuses on partnerships and collaboration between colleges, employers, and the community to promote student success, advance a qualified workforce, and contribute to a stronger local economy.

As part of a Work Ready Community, career readiness assessments help employers identify employees whose skill levels match their needs. The assessment focuses on three areas: applied math, workplace documents, and graphic identity. From the assessment, potential 
employees earn a certificate, based on three levels of achievement, which is used to identify the best match between employer and employee. 

The ACT Work Ready Communities designation empowers states, regions, and counties with data, processes, and tools that drive economic growth. There are more than 23,000 employers in 26 states across the country that have earned this designation. Participants leverage the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) to measure and close the skills gap, and build common frameworks that link, align, and match their workforce development efforts. More than 4.4 million employees nationwide hold an NCRC.

As a newly designated Work Ready Community, Washington County will be recognized at the ACT Workforce Summit in October in Nashville, Tenn. 

To learn more about the Work Ready Community designation in Washington County, contact Theresa Shank, HCC’s dean of Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education, at tmshank@hagerstowncc.edu or visit www.hagerstowncc.edu/workkeys

(July 14, 2023)