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Greenville Business Magazine

Greenwood, Oconee Ranked Top Rural Counties For Workforce Certificates

Oct 26, 2017 10:59AM ● Published by Emily Stevenson

A new report by Site Selection ranks Upstate counties Greenwood and Oconee among the top 10 rural communities for attainment of the WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate.

Greenwood County ranks No. 2, and Oconee County ranks No. 6 among the “Top US Rural and Micropolitan Counties by NCRCS” included in the report, published in the magazine’s current edition.

The ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate is an assessment-based credential earned through scores on three ACT WorkKeys assessments (applied math, graphic literacy, and workplace documents) that measure foundational employability skills. In the 2014-2015 school year, South Carolina introduced a statewide initiative to require all 11th grade students to complete the WorkKeys assessment.

“Greenwood and Oconee counties are showcasing the Upstate’s talent pool and the payoff of collaborative efforts to connect today’s students to tomorrow’s career opportunities, in both urban and rural communities,” said John Lummus, President & CEO of the Upstate SC Alliance. “I’m proud that not one, but two, Upstate communities stand out among the nation.”

In the aggregate, NCRC attainment levels are seen as a measure of a community’s workforce aptitude – helpful information for companies being recruited to a community. On the individual level, NCRC scores help companies assess a job seeker’s proficiency.

“We are so pleased to have Greenwood County Ranked 2nd nationally in its category for NCRCs,” added Heather Simmons Jones, CEO of the Greenwood Partnership Alliance. “Having that many total National Career Readiness Certificates awarded in our county helps to show how ready the Greenwood County workforce is for growth. We look forward to increasing both the number of NCRCs in the future and our college graduation rate with the help of The Greenwood Promise.”

“In today’s economic development arena, preparing the future workforce is becoming more and more critical, so it is gratifying to see these two communities rank in the top 10 out of more than 500 locations in the United States,” said Richard K. Blackwell, Executive Director of the Oconee Economic Alliance. “Seeing these communities on the list speaks volumes to the coordinated efforts amongst many players towards ensuring the pipeline for talent is in place for future economic development success.” 

Blackwell credits Oconee’s ranking to collaborative community emphasis on workforce development through initiatives such as the Anderson-Oconee-Pickens Showcase, which originated in Oconee, and the establishment of a workforce development campus in Oconee Industry & Technology Park, which will include a vocational school, adult education, and Tri-County Technical College campus alongside industries.

Education, Economic Development, Enterprise

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