Sunday, March 2, 2008

Governor Perdue Calls for Applications for Second Round of Certified Work Ready Community Commitments, Grants

2/26/08 Governor Sonny Perdue today announced the state has launched the second round of Certified Work Ready Community commitments and will award grants to a limited number of counties committed to accelerating the certification process.

“Work Ready is transforming our state and making Georgia’s workforce our number one competitive advantage,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “More than 70 counties have already made the commitment to earning Certified Work Ready Community status and my goal is to soon have all 159 on board.”

To be designated a Certified Work Ready Community, counties must drive current workers and the available workforce to earn Work Ready Certificates, demonstrate a commitment to improving public high school graduation rates and build community commitment for meeting these goals.

Each community must create a team of economic development, government and education partners to create programs to meet the certification criteria. Communities are given three years to meet their specific goals.

Those counties willing to complete the process in 18 months will be eligible for the state-funded grants. These counties will serve as a model for the initiative, showcasing successes and best practices for other communities to follow.

“These accelerated counties are leading the way,” said Governor Perdue. “By jumpstarting the process, they can drive additional momentum and participation in the Work Ready initiative throughout the state.”

To further encourage communities’ efforts, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development (GOWD) has created the “Road to Readiness” award for those counties who exceed expectations and beat their individual goals for citizens earning Work Ready Certificates while they are pursuing certified status. The first three counties to earn Road to Readiness awards are Elbert, Jefferson and Upson Counties.

“We set aggressive goals and have found that Georgia’s communities are equal to the challenge,” said Debra Lyons, GOWD director. “The Road to Readiness award recognizes these communities’ extraordinary efforts and encourages them to continue to strive to meet their goals.”

Those communities that would like to begin the process of becoming Certified Work Ready Communities should complete and submit the Notification of Intent to Participate form located at www.gaworkready.org by April 30, 2008. Information about accelerated community grants is also available at the Work Ready Web site.

Georgia’s Work Ready initiative is based upon a skills assessment and certification for job seekers and a job profiling system for businesses. By identifying both the needs of business and the available skills of Georgia’s workforce, the state can more effectively generate the right talent for the right jobs. Since January 2007, more than 5,000 Georgians have earned Work Ready Certificates, bringing the state’s cumulative total to more than 12,000 Certificates attained.

For more information on the Work Ready initiative please visit the Web site at www.gaworkready.org
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