• Arkansas county added to career readiness database, aimed to attract major business employers

    By: Siobhan Riley

    Updated:

    CRITTENDEN, Co. - Crittenden County is one of 10 places in Arkansas added to the National Career Readiness Certification data base.

    FOX13 found out how this impacts job seekers and high school graduates looking to get straight into the workforce.

    If a major employer wants to come to the area, they will be more likely to come and recruit locally.


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    For example, if Amazon wanted to bring business to this area, they would look in the database to find out who has that certification.

    Thelma Gist, who has lived in West Memphis all her life understands the need for jobs in her community. She said students who do not go to college after high school need more options.

    “That would give them something to do, at least they wouldn’t be on the streets, it would give them a way to make honest money,” Gist said.

    In May, Crittenden County achieved Work Ready Status as a way to bridge the gap between employers and potential qualified job seekers.

    “When we’re interacting with perspective businesses and not only that but existing industry, we’re able to demonstrate that we have the educational infrastructure in place to fill those gaps in the workplace,”

    Mallory Darby, the project manager of West Memphis economic development said.

    Darby said the certification came from a partnership with Arkansas State University, Mid-South and other employers. In order to get the National Career Readiness Certification, they have to test students and job seekers.

    “They’ll go through the welding program, they’ll go through all the technical programs that ASU has to offer,” Darby said.

    At the end of the program they will take the Work Ready National career readiness certificate exam that demonstrates they have the skill sets to attract major employers. 

    Another requirement is making sure they have support from local businesses. Right now, they are partnering with companies such as Hino, the city of West Memphis and Bosch.

    “Because there’s so much killing with the young people’s not having anything to do and maybe this would give them an opportunity,” Gist said.

    Hino said their partnership with the county is the reason they are seeing a decrease in the turnover.

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