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Work Hard - Work Smart

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155 Seniors in Burkburnett, Texas Are Work-Ready Thanks to the Work Hard Work Smart Program

Wichita Falls, TX, May 11, 2011 --( Burkburnett High School has 155 seniors who now possess the ACT
WorkKeys’ National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) which supports student’s ability to connect what they have learned in school to more than 90% of the jobs that exist in North Texas.

Through a program called Work Hard – Work Smart at the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Burkburnett seniors were assessed offering a sampling about how other high schools locally would do on the WorkKeys assessment.

“Work Hard – Work Smart seeks to help all high school students in Wichita County achieve the National Career Readiness Certificate. We weren’t sure how our students might do, so Danny Taylor, the superintendent at Burkburnett ISD, volunteered the Burkburnett seniors as a focus group,” said Michael Paris, Vice President for Workforce Development at the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The National Career Readiness Certificate assesses three different areas to determine work-readiness: Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information and Locating Information. Each certificate has four levels of achievement: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Students need to score at least a three on a three to seven scale in all three assessments to receive the certificate. “When a prospective candidate applies for a job, the National Career Readiness Certificate immediately conveys to the employer that this person possesses the ability to transfer what they have learned to the workplace,” said Paris. “Employers have access to a free service to confirm the certificate’s validity.”

Of the 155 seniors who took the WorkKeys assessment, there were 38 bronze, 68 silver, 47 gold and 2 platinum designations. “I am very proud of our students and, now, they have certificate that helps them qualify for work in this area. Local employers will know they have the ability to become good employees. For the first time in a long time, most students were engaged because they can connect the outcome of this assessment with the potential of employment. The students that are not going to college need that connection,” said Del Hardaway, Principal at Burkburnett High School.

Work Hard – Work Smart currently has 44 employers who will either recommend or consider the National Career Readiness Certificate for entry level jobs. The program’s initial goal is 50 employers. When these businesses select prospective candidates for job openings, they will be considering the NCRC in addition to the job requirements.

The projected timeline is to roll-out test centers for adults starting in June 2011 and provide assessments to all public school seniors in Wichita County and Vernon High School in October, 2011.

“Global competition for jobs is fierce. To separate this region from the pack, our first goal is to make Wichita County the first ‘Work-Ready’ county in Texas. By definition, that means we will have 85% of graduating seniors, 35% of the unemployed and 3% of the underemployed in Wichita County possessing the National Career Readiness Certificate starting. That’s more than 2,000 prospective employees who will help local businesses achieve profits, but more important, it will assist North Texas in attracting quality jobs to our region as we continue to expand this program, “said Paris. “Our history in this area is about working hard and working smart. The National Career Readiness Certificate is a new tool to bring jobs here.”

Contact Information
Work Hard Work Smart
Michael Paris
(866) 975-7239

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