Work-Ready Community

Texas County has reached 84 percent of its goals to become a Certified Work-Ready Community.

The designation is part of an ongoing Missouri Economic Development initiative (started in 2012) that helps job seekers document work-ready skills while aiding ­­employers in selecting the most qualified applicants for their open positions, an official said.

Teri Ebel, business services representative with Missouri Job Center at West Plains, said that the National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) gives jobseekers official documentation of three key workforce skills that 90 percent of America’s employers label as critical. (The NCRC is earned by taking ACT’s WorkKeys assessment, available for free to those 18+ years old at Missouri Job Centers around the state.)

The 3-hour assessment verifies skills in Applied Mathematics, Workplace Documents (reading for information) and Graphic Literacy (locating information in charts, graphs, maps, schematics, etc.).

Employers benefit from applicants who’ve earned an NCRC because:

  • •It saves them time and money by ensuring that potential employees actually possess the necessary workforce skills to handle their jobs.
  • Consequently, it frees up their capital to invest in strengthening and growing their businesses.
  • •Which fosters economic competitiveness and keeps jobs in our region.

Jobseekers benefit from earning an NCRC because:

  • It documents key workforce skills more definitively than a high school diploma. It can also document those skills for individuals who have never earned their diploma/GED/HiSET.
  • It includes preparation tutorials that can help jobseekers close skill gaps.
  • It’s a free credential to post on resumes and include on job applications.
  • It can help an applicant stand out in a crowd, demonstrating his/her commitment to getting/keeping a job along with the key workforce skills.

The community benefits from the NCRC because it proves the skill level of a community’s workforce, which is key to attracting new businesses to the region.

In late March, the senior class at Houston High School took the exam to earn their NCRCs, joining more than 225 people in Texas County who have earned NCRCs to date.

To reach Texas County’s Certified Work-Ready Communities goals, 19 more Transitioning Workers (adults not currently employed who are or may be looking for work in the future) need to test for and earn and NCRC. In addition, at least 20 additional businesses must sign Employer Partnership Letters stating that they will recognize and/or prefer potential employees who have earned an NCRC.

Texas County is surrounded by other counties —  Pulaski, Phelps, Dent and Howell — that have already been certified as Work-Ready. Douglas County has reached 94 percent of its goals; Lavlede is 62 percent of the way there.

Learn more about Missouri’s Certified Work Ready Communities initiative and the NCRC at or contact Teri Ebel at Missouri Job Center, or 417-853-4418.

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