DeRIDDER, La. -
The Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce was recently awarded a Delta Regional Authority State's Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP) grant for workforce training and development. The Chamber is in the process of certifying as a Work Ready Community to help provide a sustainable regional workforce in the area.
Lisa Adams, Executive Director, Glenda Dean, Past President, Randy Cline, President, and Kyle Mestayer, President Elect, representing the Greater Beauregard Area Chamber of Commerce, announced that Beauregard Parish schools will receive $10,125 from the grant funds in 2018-2019 for the purpose of National Career Readiness Certificates earned through the WorkKeys assessment. The WorkKeys exam is part of the program contributing to the parish becoming a Work Ready Certified Community.
"In pursuing workforce certification for the parish, it is the Chamber's goal to spur new economic growth for our area," said Adams. "When site selectors are deciding on placement for a facility, they want to have data that supports the workforce information. Becoming a Work Ready Certified Community allows us to provide that data with a goal of bringing new jobs to Beauregard Parish."
WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system that measures workplace skills that employers consider critical to job success. These include applied mathematics, applied technology, listening for understanding, locating information, workplace observation, reading for information, teamwork, business writing, talent, fit, and performance.
The WorkKeys exam is administered in three sections - Applied Mathematics, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents. Questions reflect everyday workplace problems and assess skills needed for success.
High school students across the state are required to take the American College Test (ACT) as part of accountability and graduation requirements. Students are also able to earn credit towards accountability measures and graduation by successfully completing the ACT WorkKeys test.
"Students must take the ACT exam at least once and then must score a Silver or above on the WorkKeys exam for their scores to count toward graduation endorsements," explained Supervisor Tammy Crain. "Students scoring at certain levels on the WorkKeys exam may also earn the National Career Readiness Certificate."
All high schools offer the WorkKeys assessments to students eligible to take it.
"WorkKeys is one way to bridge the gap between education and work," said Crain. "We want our students to be able to graduate with skills and certifications that they can take directly into a job. The Chamber of Commerce wants to show that our area has a workforce ready community, so our partnership works to benefit our students and our community."
The SEDAP program is federally funded investment targeted for transportation and infrastructure improvements, workforce development, and business development. The Delta Regional Authority covers 252 counties and parishes in parts of eight states - Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.
The Greater Beauregard Area Chamber of Commerce was selected as one of the 1,149 projects funded across the region and as one of the 22 projects selected for funding in Louisiana. The Chamber has completed 96 percent of the requirements to become a Work Ready Certified Community. With certification, the parish will be listed in a national register which is used by site selectors in determining placement of new businesses.