- Report Published -
|Findings on the Investigation of the Creation of a Virginia Work-Ready Community Certification Program - November 2008|
|Virginia Workforce Council|
|Chapter 243 2. (Regular Session, 2008)|
|Chapters 243 and 679 of the 2008 General Assembly asked the Virginia Workforce Council to investigate the creation of a work-ready community certification program in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The study examined two topics: (1) existing work-ready community certification programs in the United States and (2) the implementation of a work-ready program in the Commonwealth.|
Highlights of Study Findings
Currently, Georgia and Oklahoma are the two states implementing work-ready community certification programs. Georgia was the first state to implement a program in 2007, followed by Oklahoma, a state which is operating pilots and has plans to expand. Both states view the workready program as a new economic development tool. To define a community as work-ready, Georgia and Oklahoma examine data related to:
♦ High school graduation rates, and
♦ Successful completion of the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC).
Concerning the potential creation of a Virginia Work-Ready Community Certification Program, sources in Georgia, Oklahoma and Virginia suggested that consideration should be given to the following:
1. Explore criteria in addition to high school graduation and Career Readiness Certification, to increase value to businesses and to encourage cooperation among education and economic development sectors,
2. Customize criteria for communities rather than having standardized criteria across the state,
3. Communicate the main program goal as workforce preparedness in direct support of economic development marketing,
4. Provide grants to certain localities to increase participation,
5. Establish pilot programs to test alternative methods of implementation, and
6. Measure outcomes in terms of business recruitment, expansion and employment related to implementation of the work-ready community program.
Study findings suggest that further investigation is necessary to ensure that the program design of a Virginia Work-Ready Community Certification Program will both be viable and valuable, should the Commonwealth choose to implement it. Any designated design team or workgroup should include representatives from education (K-12, community college, four-year universities), workforce development and economic development and other areas that can offer local- and state-level perspectives.