Business and community leaders, along with local officials, witnessed their visions come true as McDonald County took a big step forward into the future of connectivity for Southwest Missouri. 

Along with being certified in offering high-speed fiber access to Pineville, Anderson, Jane and surrounding areas.  McDonald County has also achieved official designation as a Certified Work Ready Community.

The certification process involves standardized testing and rating of job seekers in basic workplace skills related to mathematics and information.

The Certified Work Ready Program is a huge benefit to businesses as employees know from the onset they are getting a qualified – trained worker which in turn requires less training time, saving the business owner time and money.

Companies spend an average of $1,208 per employee on training and development. For companies with fewer than 500 workers, that number is even higher, coming in at $1,888 per employee. Companies are spending an average of 31.5 hours per year training employees.

The Certified Work Ready Certificate in combination with being able to offer businesses high-speed fiber access we are witnessing a milestone in McDonald County’s strategic efforts to strengthen and grow economically.

McDonald County Telephone and Internet companies have been working for the past five years on fiber to the home infrastructure, which is ideal for businesses as well.

 With the combination of McDonald County’s access to fiber and with the designation, made by American College Testing (ACT), for McDonald County’s certified Work Ready achievement the workforce training programs can align their selves with the economic development needs of communities. Helping to match appropriate applicants to jobs based on skill level  strengthens businesses by strengthening the workforce.

Because career readiness is a factor of national high school rankings, McDonald County High School has recently seen a boost and was ranked one of the nation’s top high schools by U.S. News & World Report. The school saw a boost when its high school students tested for National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRCs), which are part of the CWRC certification.

“McDonald County R-1 schools are very proud of our work ready partnership with the McDonald County Chamber of Commerce,” said Angela Brewer, assistant superintendent of the McDonald County R-1 School District. “Our goal is to graduate college- and career-ready citizens: Every Child, Every Day, Whatever It Takes. This partnership is one more evidenced example of our commitment to that goal.”

 One company seeing a result of the work ready program is Cooper Gear & Manufacturing, in Anderson. They are saving time and money in training which results in less turn overs and in turn reducing waste by having a way to match the potential employee with the level of skill needed to perform the job they are skilled i

Benefits from CWRC certification include:

· Workers better understand what skills are required by employers and how to prepare themselves for success.

· Businesses can more effectively communicate their workforce needs to area education and workforce training programs.

· Educators have better tools for closing any skill gaps by establishing career pathways for students with stackable industry-recognized credentials.

· Economic development organizations are better equipped with an on-demand reporting tool to promote the quality of their workforce.