RICHMOND – Governor Northam today announced that the City of Danville has been designated as a Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC) by American College Testing (ACT). This nationally recognized certification helps growing businesses and site selection firms identify highly skilled populations and optimal areas for expansion.
“As a Certified Work Ready Community, Danville has demonstrated a sustained, city-wide commitment to workforce development," said Governor Ralph Northam. "By emphasizing the skills employers need from day one, they have built a labor force that’s ready for the 21st century."
More than 75 regional employers, educational institutions, and workforce development organizations supported Danville City’s efforts to achieve this important national certification. At the core of the ACT Work Ready Communities initiative is the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). This nationally recognized, portable credential includes three essential workplace skill categories: applied math, reading for information, and locating information. The NCRC credential is administered by Danville Community College (DCC) with multiple agencies providing referrals.
“Today’s achievement by Danville City demonstrates to our existing companies, as well as prospective employers, that we have a trainable workforce with the foundational skills to compete,” said Dr. Julie Brown, Program Director, Dan River Region Collaborative (DRCC). “We have a significant number of localities in southern Virginia that are certified as Work Ready Communities with several more planning to launch their efforts. When we work together as a region, great things are possible.”
“I’m delighted to learn the City of Danville has reached its goal as a Certified Work Ready Community,” said Telly Tucker, Danville City’s Director of Economic Development. “Increasingly, business and industry are emphasizing the importance of a highly skilled workforce. I believe our continued regional effort and investment in education and workforce development make us considerably more attractive for job growth.”
To become certified, a county must achieve benchmarks in three areas of performance: high school graduation rate, number of National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) credentials attained in the county, and number of employers recognizing NCRC. Employers report that knowing a job candidate has foundational, verifiable workplace skills expedites the hiring process.
“The NCRC has had an extremely positive impact on our hiring process,” stated Laura Tyree, Human Resources Manager with Essel Propack, a global specialty laminate tubing company located in Danville. “When we receive certification results for the candidates who took the NCRC, we know we’re getting a quality candidate. The training time for our new employees is twelve weeks, and we know that it is not an easy job to learn. Knowing that these new employees have received a Gold or Platinum certification reassures us that they will be able to not only learn how to operate our tubing lines, but they will excel at it.”
In addition to Danville City, Henry County, Halifax County, Pittsylvania County and Martinsville City have been certified as Work Ready Communities. Patrick County, Greensville County and the City of Emporia have launched their WRC initiatives, and six additional localities in Go Virginia’s Region 3 will begin issuing NCRCs this spring.
“Today’s announcement is a major achievement for both the City of Danville and Virginia as a whole,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “With our fifth Certified Work Ready Community, we have cemented the Commonwealth’s status as a national leader in workforce development.”
The prevalence of National Career Readiness Certificates is among the criteria used by Site Selection Magazine to annually determine the Top Ten Competitive States. 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.