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What is a Work Ready Community . . .

. . . and What Does it Mean for Columbia-Adair County?

By Brenda Mann, Columbia/Adair County Chamber of Commerce President

Community Members:

The next few months Chamber newsletter articles will focus on providing information on the Work Ready Community Certification Program and what it means to our county.

Currently, Columbia-Adair is certified as a Work Ready Community in Progress. This means our community made application and met Work Ready in Progress certification criteria. A status we have held for the past three years. At this point in the certification process, Adair has recently reapplied to continue the Work Ready Community in Progress certification. This certification indicates that our community continues to make good strides in meeting the rigorous standards required to receive the ultimate Certified Work Ready Community standing.


We offer a huge thanks to all those that worked diligently on the initial application and to those continuing to work to achieve the Certified Work Ready Community status.

A panel of experts representing each of ten stakeholder groups is appointed by the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board and reviews each application for Work Ready and Work Ready in Progress status. This panel makes recommendations to the board for certification. When communities, like Adair achieve this status, it becomes a framework to get our workforce to the next level by identifying the gaps and carrying out strategies to achieve a more knowledgeable, trained workforce.

In order for the program to have real value for business and industry, the criteria are intentionally stringent. Most Kentucky communities, including Adair, applied for Work Ready Community in Progress certification with a detailed plan to overcome the county's short falls. A Kentucky Work Ready Community in Progress certification is an indication to employers and the community that our county is on the move and that we are motivated to improve our workforce.

Kentucky has one of the most rigorous Work Ready Community Certification Programs in the nation for communities to meet to demonstrate their workforce quality. These high standards are an opportunity to differentiate our county and help us compete to attract jobs now and in the future.

The Work Ready criteria include high school graduation rates, National Career Readiness Certificate holders, community commitment, educational attainment, soft skills development and internet availability. Significant improvements have been made in Adair County toward meeting these rigorous certification guidelines, and with continued hard work and efforts Adair will meet these standards and become a Work Ready Community.

Certification as a Work Ready Community will elevate Adair County's status in attracting better jobs to our community, improving the quality of life for our citizens and improving the overall community.

The focus of the Work Ready Community is not only on the Work Force's educational and technical skills, but also on soft skills. Soft skills are personal attributes such as good daily work attendance, being at work on time, returning from lunch and breaks on time, working well with others (teamwork), respecting others, working safely, following rules and having good communication skills. This is one area that the Adair County High is focusing and addressing with a Student Work Ready Ethics Seal Program. Please read about this high school program and its benefits to students and the community in Robin Loy's article included in this newsletter.

If you want to learn more about the Work Ready Community Program visit the Kentucky Work Ready Communities website at: http://workready.ky.gov/. If you want to be a partner in the Work Ready Community in Progress support group, please call the Columbia-Adair Chamber of Commerce at 270-384-6020. It takes all community members working together to make the improvements necessary to meet the rigorous Work Ready standards and achieve certification.

Please join us at the Monthly Columbia-Adair Chamber of Commerce Informational Luncheon meeting on Tuesday, August 11 at 11:45amCT, at the Lindsey Wilson College Cranmer Dining Facility to learn more about Work Ready Community and the Adair High Work Ethics Seal Program.

A speaker with Workforce Development will discuss the Work Ready community Certification, and the Adair County Schools Work Ethics Seal Program will be presented by Robin Loy, kid*FRIENDLY College And Career Readiness Counselor - Race to the Top.

A speaker with Workforce Development will discuss the Work Ready Community Certification, and the Adair County Schools Work Ethics Seal Program will be presented by Robin Loy, kid*FRIENDLy College and Career Readiness Counselor- Race to the Top-District Green River Regional Educational Cooperative (GRREC). - Brenda Mann, in the July 2015 Chamber Insights


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