CCCC's Career Readiness program certifies 3,200
SANFORD - Total participation in North Carolina's Career Readiness Certification program at Central Carolina Community College has grown from five students in 2007 to 3,200 in 2013.
In today's workforce, employees are increasingly called upon to demonstrate an advanced set of skills or at least the ability to develop those skills through on-the-job training.
The Career Readiness Certification is an assessment-based credential that gives employers and job seekers a measure of key basic workplace skills. It benefits both the employer and prospective or incumbent employee by certifying that the employee is qualified to perform successfully in the workplace at specific levels of reading, math, and information location.
CCCC's program has increased enrollment each year and boasts many student success stories.
"We really have had a lot of success with the CRC program," said Program Coordinator Patricia Stone-Hackett. "It has been beneficial for everyone who participates. We're teaching students how to apply their skills in the work place and achieve their full potential, and we're helping employers fill jobs with a qualified, productive work force."
CRC graduate 1,000, Stephanie Hooker, worked her way up from cashier to assistant manager at a supermarket, but was laid off after 23 years of employment. Hooker decided to go back to school to pursue an associate degree in accounting, but soon realized that she needed additional skills to be competitive in today's job market.
She enrolled in the Career Readiness Certification program at CCCC.
"The CRC program gave me the confidence to keep moving forward," Hooker said. "It is a very good program."
After graduation, she was hired as an assistant manager at a variety store.
Graduate 3000, Mary Barszcewski, worked at a number of jobs before enrolling in the CRC program. Aided by the unemployed /underemployed financial assistance program, she graduated from the program and went on to earn a certificate from the Nurse Aide program at CCCC.
Husband and wife Terry Mann and Madeleine Bassi wanted to enhance their employability upon moving from Wisconsin to the Sandhills area.
"We weren't really getting anywhere in our job search, so I went to the Central Carolina Lee Campus Business Office, and they directed me to the CRC program," Mann said. "Both Madeleine and I passed the certification test and have experienced positive results."
Bassi now manages a group home and Mann, who continues his job search, feels CRC certification is definitely a "bonus" for his resume.
The Career Readiness Certificate is based on established WorkKeys assessment tests. WorkKeys is a comprehensive skills assessment tool recognized by thousands of companies in the United States and by state and federal agencies. To earn a Career Readiness Certificate, students undergo testing related to reading, applied math, and locating information. Individuals can earn three levels of Career Readiness Certification based on their test performance.
Anna Simmonds utilized the Career Readiness Certificate to substantiate her skill level to obtain a position with a local school district.
"I thought the program was fantastic," Simmonds said. "It was a really good fit for me."
Stone-Hackett and the CRC staff not only work with students, but with employers and community agencies. Despite its small beginning, Phyllis Huff, dean of Continuing Education said that CCCC has offered constant and continued support to the Career Readiness program. As a result, the college currently has more CRC certificate holders than Cumberland, Wake and Moore Counties.
"Employers set standards for employment and budget testing of potential employees in conjunction with the CRC program," said Stone-Hackett. "They want to know before they spend money to train someone that the person has the ability to do the job."
In addition, the CRC program works with students enrolled in CCCC's College and Career Readiness program in Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties, the college's service area.
"CRC is a great starting point," Stone-Hackett said. "WorkKeys identifies strengths as well as weaknesses. The program also gives students the help they need to improve."
For more information about the Career Readiness Certification, contact Patricia Stone-Hackett at firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-682-8353, or 919-777-7716.
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