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Brunswick Named Certified Work Ready Community

Brunswick Named Certified Work Ready Community
Posted on 10/25/2019
Brunswick County and the Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) are pleased to announce that Brunswick County has been designated as a Certified Work Ready Community (WRC). The nationally recognized designation by the Commonwealth of Virginia and American College Testing (ACT) will help Brunswick County attract new businesses and jobs in addition to strengthening the skill sets of the region’s high school students, job seekers and incumbent workforce.

Partners like the DRRC, the South Central Workforce Development Board, Southside Virginia Community College, Brunswick County Public Schools and regional employers supported Brunswick County’s efforts to achieve this important national certification. Some of the supportive regional employers include Redland Brick Inc. - Lawrenceville Plant, Brodnax Lumber Company, Calhoun Timber, Edmonds Printing Company, Pecht Distributors Inc., Scotts Miracle-Gro and Virginia Carolina Forest Products.To become certified, a locality must achieve benchmarks in three areas of performance: high school graduation rate, number of ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™ (ACT NCRC®) credentials attained in the locality and number of employers recognizing the NCRC.

“We are thrilled to showcase the work-ready talent of Brunswick County with this latest designation and look forward to continued collaboration to help attract and retain employers,” said Dr. Julie Brown, Program Director of the Dan River Region Collaborative (DRCC) and Director of Advanced Learning at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. “ACT’s partnership has helped us objectively quantify the skill level of our area’s talent, and we welcome the opportunity to addmore Certified Work Ready Communities in the future.”

The WRC effort is a voluntary initiative guided by key community leaders – local elected officials, economic development teams, business leaders, chambers of commerce, educators and workforce development agencies. At the core of the ACT Work Ready Communities initiative is the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (ACT NCRC). Since January 2006, more than four million Americans have earned an ACT NCRC.This national, portable credential includes three essential workplace skill categories: applied math, workplace documents, and graphic literacy.

Four years ago, Site Selection Magazine added the number of National Career Readiness Certificates per 1,000 residents as one of five criteria used in its tabulations for its annual Workforce Development Rankings. This year, Virginia ranked as the top state in the Atlantic region, scoring ahead of highly competitive states such as Florida, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware.

Companies are seeing the benefit of the Work Ready Community effort which provides a system to verify work readiness, matching the skill level of prospective workers to the skill set required for a specific job. Improved recruitment, reductions in new-hire turnover, and improvements in employee engagement are just a few of the positive outcomes more than 504 companies across the region are experiencing. Such companies include Owens-Illinois, Eastman Chemical Company, Essel Propack, Amthor International and Ten Oaks LLC.

Dr. Charlette T. Woolridge, Brunswick County Administrator, stated, “Brunswick County is pleased to announce that we are the 10th locality in the Commonwealth to be recognized as a Certified Work Ready Community, which was a primary goal of the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors. This designation certifies and validates that Brunswick County and the Southern Virginia region have a skilled and educated workforce to meet the growing and diverse economic needs of employers. Brunswick County is ‘open for business!’”

Dr. Woolridge further stated, “This effort is the result of collaborative partnerships between the County of Brunswick and Dan River Region Collaborative, South Central Workforce Board, Brunswick County Public Schools, Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce, Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority, Southside Virginia Community College, local businesses and citizens.”

“Career readiness is an integral component of our educational program and is an absolute necessity for the Brunswick graduate,” said Dr. Kristy N. Somerville-Midgette, Division Superintendent of Brunswick County Public Schools (BCPS). “The aim of BCPS is to provide career exploration and preparation for our students in order to ensure viable contributions to the greater community. As a newly Certified Work Ready Community, we are excited about the possibilities for Brunswick County. Additionally, we are appreciative of the support from our local government and community as we continue our vision of ‘Educating Students, Inspiring Success and Improving Tomorrow.’”

“In today’s economy to be successful and competitive for your community, a trained and skilled workforce is the key foundation,” said Carthan Currin, III, Director of Economic Development for Brunswick County.

"The revitalization of Brunswick County is a journey,” said Wendy Wright, Executive Director of the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce. “It's a process and will not happen overnight. Just like any journey it requires a map and a well thought out game plan. I am proud to have been part of achieving this leg of that journey."

In addition to serving existing companies, the Work Ready Community effort provides a third-party validated, data-driven system for economic developers to talk about the skill level of the region’s workforce. This effort supports the Commonwealth’s goal of expanding the number of Virginians who hold industry certifications that have value to employers. As the region considers further workforce investments and expanding the number of citizens with in-demand certifications, use of the National Career Readiness Certificate demonstrates that Brunswick County has a qualified and trainable workforce.

In addition to Brunswick County, the counties of Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Amelia, Patrick, Henry, Halifax and Pittsylvania as well asthe cities of Danville and Martinsville have been certified as Work Ready Communities. Other Commonwealth localities have launched their WRC initiatives and are on target to reach WRC status in the near future.

For more information on the WRC initiative, contact Dr. Julie Brown at [email protected] or 434.766.6711.