Howard County becomes Missouri’s 86th Certified Work Ready Community

Boonville Daily News

Howard County, Missouri, recently achieved ACT Certified Work Ready Community Status. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson spoke at the event celebrating the certification, Tuesday, at Central Methodist University.

The Work Ready Community initiative empowers counties throughout the United States to identify skill gaps and quantify the skill level of its workforce. This helps educators build career pathways aligned with the needs of business and industry.

In order to be considered for the designation, communities must obtain the support from a determined number of businesses in the community and the workforce must earn a certain number of ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificates.

Howard County applied for the initiative in 2013 and achieved its work-ready goals in April 2021. In earning this status, Howard County has demonstrated the necessary partnerships in place to attract, develop, and retain a workforce, with the education and fundamental skills needed for success.

“Receiving ACT Work Ready certification shows Howard County’s commitment to its community and building a skilled, 21st Century workforce,” said Gov. Parson. “The educators, employers, and policymakers of Howard County have built a strong pipeline between schools and businesses, and we applaud them on this achievement.”  

Missouri Director of Workforce Development Dr. Mardy Leathers and workforce leaders from the Moberly area also spoke at Tuesday’s celebration.

“Creating job opportunities and building a strong workforce starts at the local level,” said Dr. Leathers. “The workforce leaders of Howard County have prioritized working with educators and businesses to create opportunities for workers in their community. This certification continues to put Missouri at the front of the pack.”   

Missouri continues to lead the nation with 86 fully Certified Work Ready Communities and more than 4,500 supporting employers.  Over one hundred Missouri counties are actively participating in Certified Work Ready Community initiatives.

“As we begin to rebuild economies in a post-COVID world, recognizing the value of career readiness will open many doors for job seekers by providing another tool in their toolbox,” said ACT Senior Director of Workforce, Fred McConnel. “We see Missouri as a model for the country in championing workforce development.”