Robeson Community College

Robeson Tops in Job-Readiness

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Robeson County has a top indicator that tells employers and industries looking for a place to locate that its residents are ready to work.

In its July edition, Site Selection Magazine ranked Robeson County No. 1 in the nation for residents holding a National Career Readiness Certificate. The article puts the number of certificate holders at 8,536, more than 2,000 more than Orangeburg County, South Carolina, which came in second.

“Robeson County is work ready,” said Channing Jones, county Economic Development director.

Economic development professionals, industry leaders, and leaders of nonprofits read Site Magazine, he said. This article tells the readers that Robeson County has many residents who are trainable and have the skills needed to fill vacant jobs or jobs they may create.

Certificate holders offer employers other benefits.

“It cuts down on attrition. It cuts down on training time,” Jones said.

Robeson County’s National Career Readiness Certificate number and the job-readiness of county residents are things he brags about when talking to potential employers.

“It’s a great thing,” Jones said.

County Commissioner David Edge agreed with Jones’ assessment. He believes the certificate program is a great tool for preparing people for work and for recruiting jobs.

“Anything we can do to attract industry to this county we need to do,” said Edge, who is a businessman.

The Public Schools of Robeson County had made getting a National Career Readiness Certificate mandatory for seniors for about 10 years, Jones said. The certificate program also has been at Robeson Community College for years. Jones was vice president of Workforce Development at RCC before becoming the county’s top industrial recruiter.

Julie Baxley is the Director of Human Resource Development at RCC.

“I’ve been involved with it since 2011,” she said.

She directs the certificate program that assesses students’ readiness for employment. The college has a WorkKeys Assessment Lab where students can take practice tests to judge how well prepared they are for the certification test and learn where they need to improve.

Each test has three assessment areas: Workplace Documents, or reading; Applied Math; and Graphic Literacy, or pulling information from graphs and charts. Each area gets its own score and the total assessment score is based on the lowest score received on one assessment area. A student must score a three or higher to pass and receive a National Career Readiness Certificate.

The certificate is good in all 50 states, Baxley said. The fact that Robeson County was ranked No. 1 is a great thing for potential employment and jobs recruitment.

“It really is,” she said.

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