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West Michigan Strategic Alliance Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Initiative Funded by the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. The National Career Readiness Certificate (Powered by WorkKeys ® ).

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West Michigan Strategic Alliance

Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Initiative

Funded by the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor

The National Career Readiness Certificate

(Powered by WorkKeys®)

Greg Northrup, President, West Michigan Strategic Alliance, 616.356.6060

Phil Rios, Project Manager, WIRED West Michigan,, 616.331.6968

The ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) Presentation, Revised: November 29, 2007

Bill Guest, WorkKeys Innovation Champion, 616.430.0828, [email protected]

Rachael Jungblut, WorkKeys Program Manager, GRCC, 616.234.3623, [email protected]

Liz Stegman, Program Administrator, 616.234.3471, [email protected]

wmsa region
WMSA Region
  • Allegan
  • Barry
  • Ionia
  • Kent
  • Muskegon
  • Newaygo
  • Ottawa
m mit region
M-MIT Region
  • Lapeer
  • Livingston
  • Midland
  • Saginaw
  • Sanilac
  • Shiawasee
  • Tuscola
  • Bay
  • Clinton
  • Eaton
  • Genesee
  • Huron
  • Ingham
what is our common language
What is our common language?

Employers say “New hires need more math.”

Educators ask “How much more?”

Employers say “We need better reading skills.”

Educators ask “How much better?”

We all know these can be endless discussions.

This communication problem extends throughout the entire Workforce Development System.

why a career readiness certificate we need a trusted common language
Why a Career Readiness Certificate?We need a trusted common language.

What do we mean by Qualified Candidates?

  • New hires
  • Promotions and internal moves
  • Career development programs
  • Occupational training
  • Job specific training

How do we measure qualifications?

Why a Career Readiness Certificate?

Do you have Qualified Candidates?

  • How successful are training classes?
  • Are all employees prepared for audits?
  • Are team leaders helping weak employees too much?
  • Are data entry errors hurting the information system?
  • Having trouble with hiring, promoting, or training?

Again, how do we measure qualifications?

workkeys is a measurement tool
WorkKeys is a measurement tool.

WorkKeys quantifies skills in the following categories:

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Applied Technology
  • Business Writing
  • Listening
  • Locating Information
  • Observation
  • Reading for Information
  • Teamwork
  • Writing
The WorkKeys Measurement System

Assess job requirements - Assess individual skill levels - Train to eliminate gaps

Career Readiness Certificate in Context

Job Specific Training

Occupational Training





Reading for


WorkKeys Measures Foundational Skills

the career readiness certificate crc and jobs
The Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) and Jobs

WorkKeys Skill Levels: Bronze Silver Gold

Reading for Information 3 4 5

Applied Mathematics 3 4 5

Locating Information 3 4 5

Job Readiness* 30% 65% 90%

* Job Readiness indicates the % of jobs in the occupational

database that holders of these certificates are qualified to apply for.

The CRC is

a credential.

10 States 14 States 19 States

From:, revised June 2006.


What Every Worker

Must Know

Reading for Information

Applied Mathematics

Locating Information

career readiness certificate project schedule
Career Readiness Certificate Project Schedule











Concept development of the Career Readiness Certificate target and the focus on employer demand.



National Best Practices identified and implemented. Prototype planned, organized and launched.

Performance metrics defined.


County teams work with selected employers to test the effectiveness of WorkKeys and the CRC to improve the Workforce.

Plan WBL.


Broad based launch of WorkKeys and the CRC in West Michigan.

Launch of Work-based Learning.

career readiness certificate employer options
Career Readiness Certificate Employer Options

Three Levels of Employer Engagement:

Entry Level Engagement: Require CRCs based on:

  • ACT Occupational Database (WorkKeys Consultant can help), or
  • O*NET Job Zone (with help from your MichiganWorks! office):
      • Bronze for O*NET Zone 1 Jobs
      • Silver for O*NET Zone 2 Jobs
      • Gold for O*NET Zone 3 Jobs (and above)

Active Engagement: Require CRCs for hiring and advancement based on job assessment tools such as: Profile, SkillMap, or Estimator.

Power User: Require CRCs for key jobs and use WorkKeys as an integral human resources and employee training and development tool.

how do we improve our workforce
How do we improve our workforce?
  • Assess foundational skills
  • Use KeyTrain software
  • Provide learning coaches for support
  • Use practice tests in KeyTrain
  • Issue Career Readiness Certificates
prototype teams
Prototype Teams

County Teams:

  • Allegan
  • Barry
  • Ionia
  • Kent
  • Muskegon
  • Newaygo
  • Ottawa

Special Teams:

  • Healthcare RSA and HFC
  • Ex-offender Re-entry
  • The SOURCE
  • Special Needs Population
  • GED
  • Inner-city
Career Readiness Certificate Steps


The Learner’s


Steps to


Job Specific Training

Occupational Training

Locating Information

Applied Mathematics

Reading for Information

michigan merit examination mme summary table
Michigan Merit Examination (MME) Summary Table

* The new Michigan Merit Examination will be utilized in all Michigan Schools beginning the Spring of 2007

Education and Training Pay

Unemployment Rate in 2003 Median Weekly Earnings in 2003



Master Degree

Bachelor Degree

Associate Degree

Some College

High School Diploma

Some High School

NOTES: Unemployment and earnings for workers 25 and older, by educational attainment; earnings for full-time wage and salary workers

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics












Combined Score

Qty. of Profiles

Notes: $23,000 at “9” and $50,000 at “15” results in a gain of $4500 per point. Data is based on RI, AM, and LI scores from the ACT Occupational Database (with 5 or more Profiles) and Median income data from the O*NET. Example: 3, 3, 3 = 9; 5, 5, 5 = 15; etc.



Emerging Workforce

(K-12 and Colleges)

Transitional Workforce

(MWAs and Agencies)


(Chambers & EAs)

Incumbent Workforce


employer demand market channel partners
Employer Demand – Market Channel Partners
  • High Schools (K-12 System)
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Michigan Works Agencies (MWAs)
  • Private Employment Agencies
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Economic Development Agencies
  • Employers Associations
  • Literacy and Adult Education Organizations
  • State Agencies and Partners
  • National Agencies and Partners
employer letter of commitment
Employer Letter of Commitment

Basic Commitments:

□ We will ask job applicants “Do you have a Career Readiness Certificate?”

□ We will recognize the Career Readiness Certificate in hiring, promotion, and employee development practices for selected positions.

□ We give WIRED West Michigan permission to use our name in public awareness efforts to promote the Career Readiness Certificate.

Extraordinary commitments:

□ We will include Career Readiness Certificate preparation programs in our tuition refund plan and/or provide assistance and an incentive for our employees.

□ We will provide special treatment for individuals with Career Readiness Certificates, such as, taking five minutes to warmly greet them when they fill out an application.

□ We will provide financial support for a promotion campaign, such as, a billboard or advertisement.

□ We will promote this program with our supply chain and recognize those suppliers that make this commitment to employee development.

□ We will test and certify ______ % employees. We employ _______ employees.

□ We will track and report data for purposes of statistical summaries for our region.

□ We will join and utilize the ACT Job and Talent Bank.

west michigan long term goals 2007 2012
West Michigan Long-term Goals (2007-2012)

1. Gain and document 500 employer commitments with a signed Letter of Commitment (LOC) by December 2008.

2. Gain commitment of all high schools in West Michigan to add Locating Information to the MME and offer ACT National Career Readiness Certificates to all students. This is 10,000 to 15,000 certificates per year.

3. Gain commitment of our six regional Michigan Works! agencies to utilize WorkKeys and the Career Readiness Certificate as a means of defining “qualified applicants” for all job placements in West Michigan.

4. Issue 50,000 Career Readiness Certificates to incumbent and displaced workers by 2012.

5. Participate in and support the state-wide movement led by the Michigan Career Readiness Certificate Advocates (MiCRCA).

“We” vs. “They”




career readiness certificate workkeys partners
Career Readiness Certificate & WorkKeys Partners
  • Career Readiness Certificate
      • Michigan:
      • ACT National:
      • CRC Consortium:
  • ACT WorkKeys,
  • KeyTrain,
  • The Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL),