Work Ready steps up pace

Published 5:05 pm Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Just as Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday the launch of Be Work Ready—a program designed to help unemployed Georgians jump start their job search—Bainbridge College earned the distinction as Early County’s first business to be certified Work Ready.

The college’s achievement came when the full-time faculty and staff, who are from Bainbridge, Blakely, Bluffton, Colquitt, Damascus and Iron City, took three WorkKeys Assessments developed by ACT Inc., an internationally recognized assessment and research company. ACT is best known for the ACT test that helps students transition into college.

BC personnel in Early County who are Work Ready certified are Pat Browers, Claude Bell, Nina Causey, Jeff Chandler, Herman Cochran, Natasha Hudson, Sonja Johns, Mark Kelly, Matthew Rub, Frederick Shorter and Teresa Teal, all of Blakely; Sandy Rogers of Bluffton; Lori Haddock of Damascus; Misty Joiner of Edison; Michelle Barsom, Terri Craft, Jerry Miller, Emily Mills, Nicole Roberts, Joan Simpson, Pam Smith and Renee Spence, all of Colquitt; Lucinda Baldwin, of Dothan, Ala.; Rachelle Andreu of Iron City, and John McRae of Bainbridge.

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Be Work Ready is a one-of-a-kind initiative providing unemployed Georgians a monetary incentive for either earning a Work Ready Certificate or improving their skills through free, online Work Ready skills gap training, a news release from the Governor’s Office stated. Funding for the initiative is provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“Georgia is leading the nation in workforce development and is committed to helping our citizens develop the skills that serve as the foundation to a successful job search,” Perdue said. “Be Work Ready is meant to inject confidence into Georgia’s unemployed population, cultivating a skilled and qualified workforce for business and driving economic development throughout the state.”

WorkKeys Assessments test an individual’s aptitude for applied math, locating information and reading for information—skills deemed necessary to succeed in the workforce.

Since 2007 Bainbridge College has been administering Georgia Work Ready assessments as part of the Work Ready certificate program that aims to have every person in the workforce Work Ready Certified. The program uses the test results to award certificates in four categories, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, said a news release from the college.

When an individual earns a bronze, silver or gold level Work Ready Certificate, they are eligible for a $50 incentive; those who earn platinum are eligible for $100. When an individual improves their Work Ready Certificate level in any way, they are eligible for a $100 incentive. The incentive, in the form of a gift card, can be used to offset job search expenses.

Many BC students have taken WorkKeys Assessments and received certificates for their efforts. The Early County Class of 2009 was tested and high school seniors who received a Bronze Certificate or higher were presented a pin and certificate on Awards Night.

BC Director of Business and Industry Services Gene Hendrix (229-248-2584) is Work Ready point of contact for Decatur, Early, Miller and Seminole counties and has responsibility for the programs at both BC locations. He appointed Early County Site Director Joan Simpson as Work Ready administrator for the site and its point of contact (229-724-2100).