Pitt County Earns a WorkReady Designation

May 22, 2013 – Another community in Eastern NC has reason to celebrate the state of its workforce. Pitt County, home to East Carolina University, has become the second Certified WorkReady Community in NC.

Largely funded by the NC Rural Economic Development Center, the initiative is under leadership and direction from North Carolina’s Eastern Region (NCER). NCER is an economic development organization which seeks to build a regional capacity to support economic growth and create opportunities which have and immediate and/or transformational impact upon the area economy. WorkReady Communities builds upon the highly acclaimed ASPIRE initiative in which NCER has given more than $1 million to support the growth of the Career Readiness Certificate across the region.

“We are very pleased to declare Pitt County as a Certified WorkReady Community. NCER is committed to workforce development as a priority to attract and retain industry and strengthen the regional economy. Without a strong network of partners and funding from the NC Rural Center such an accomplishment would not be possible,” said Kathy Howard, Vice President for Workforce & Client Development, NCER.

Communities can earn the designation by achieving certain standards, displaying their commitment to workforce excellence. The partnership must receive a pledge from 10 of the top 20 largest employers to utilize the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) in employment practices with a minimum of 5% of the labor force possessing a CRC and increase the high school graduation rate by 1% with a minimum qualifying rate of 70%.

“One of the greatest benefits of the WorkReady Community Certification was that it brought many different partners to the table to explore solutions for Employers and Job Seekers for the near future. It also allowed us to skill up and certify our current workforce, allowing employers to get connected to the employees they need right now,” remarked Mary Paramore, Director of Business & Industry, Pitt Community College.

Not only does WorkReady Communities benefit the incumbent workforce and existing industry but it will play an important role in the ability to recruit new industry as well.

“WorkReady tells companies and site selectors that our community has the qualified labor force they need and expect. With WorkReady status, we can assure companies that they have access to an already prepared workforce as well as to customized training. That’s a very powerful message. Both existing industries and new companies need a qualified workforce. WorkReady lets them know that our citizens are exactly what the designation says: ready to work,” said Wanda Yuhas, Executive Director, Pitt County Development Commission.

As part of the WorkReady program, employers are able to take advantage of a free job portal which connects them to job seekers around the 13 county Eastern Region. Nearly 140 employers have access to the portal which serves any industry and any level of job seeker.

For more information on WorkReady Communities please visit www.ncworkready.org.

North Carolina’s Eastern Region is a regional economic development agency serving 13 counties from I-95 to the coast. For more information visit North Carolina’s Eastern Region’s website (www.nceast.org).