WorkKeys® assessments have been used for more than two decades to measure essential workplace skills and help people build career pathways.

Learn More

Improving Workforce Quality

Individuals are entering the workforce without the skills employers need. WorkKeys is a first step toward closing skills gaps and improving workforce quality.

Supported by data from more than 20,000 job skills profiles and rooted in decades of workplace research, WorkKeys assessments are based on situations in the everyday working world. The assessments measure “hard” and “soft” skills, helping:

  • Individuals—from career seekers to longtime employees—measure their skills and advance their career goals
  • Educators from high school through college ensure their students are ready for career success
  • Employers find, hire, and develop quality talent
  • Workforce and economic developers prepare their workforce to attract and maintain business and industry
  • Industry associations and advocacy organizations develop valuable skills credentialing systems for a more productive, reliable and profitable workforce

Successful completion of three WorkKeys assessments—Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information—can help an individual earn the National Career Readiness Certificate™ (NCRC®), a portable credential that documents essential work skills. More than 3 million NCRCs have been issued across the United States.

I'm Ready for WorkKeys

I want to learn more about putting WorkKeys to work for my company.

WorkKeys Assessments

Read descriptions and access sample questions for each WorkKeys assessment.

WorkKeys for Employers

Not all assessments are created equal

WorkKeys assessments are the cornerstone of Workforce Solutions and the basis for the NCRC—the nation’s most recognized work readiness credential. The assessments help you measure the most important skills and improve your workforce.


Become a Career Solutions Provider

Institutions are in a unique position to help their local business community build a stronger, more qualified workforce. Combine your resources with the Career Solutions Provider program, using ACT assessments and training tools to improve workers’ job skills and provide students with a career readiness credential.


WorkKeys for Individuals

Taking control of your career development

WorkKeys helps you measure your skills and learn how you stack up to what employers expect. With these assessments, you’re in control—take them on your own time, as many times as you want, and only share scores with employers when you’re ready.


What It Takes

Proof of essential work skills

Earning the NCRC starts with an assessment—three of them, actually. Choose a convenient location from hundreds nationwide to complete the following WorkKeys® assessments: Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information.



Using WorkKeys in your classroom

If students are going to be adequately prepared for the workforce, they need to understand the requirements for jobs they are considering. WorkKeys helps students determine the skill levels required for various jobs.

An increasing number of states are recognizing the importance of statewide WorkKeys testing, reexamining state standards and the content taught in high school to ensure that they focus on college and career readiness skills. The ACT® test and WorkKeys assessments are recognized as the leading educational assessments for use in statewide testing.

States Using the ACT and WorkKeys

Public high school juniors take WorkKeys assessments in Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information under a program called Alaska Career Ready. The goal of Alaska Career Ready is to provide families with a free resource that helps them prepare their students for the world of work. Students are eligible to earn the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate.

High school juniors take the Michigan Merit Exam (MME), which includes state-developed tests, the five tests in the ACT with writing, and the WorkKeys Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information assessments. Students are eligible to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate.

North Dakota
High school juniors are required to take either the four multiple-choice ACT tests or the WorkKeys Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information assessments. Students are eligible to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate.

High school juniors are required to take either the four multiple-choice ACT tests or the WorkKeys Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information assessments. The cost for either set of assessments for all students is paid by the state. Students are eligible to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate.

Workforce Developers

Partnering for a stronger workforce

Business executives and economic development consultants work to identify the best locations for expansion and relocation. The availability of skilled labor is a critical factor in making these decisions.

A growing number of states, communities, and organizations are choosing WorkKeys and the National Career Readiness Certificate as the foundation for career readiness initiatives that energize their economic development and workforce strategies.

Together WorkKeys and the NCRC help communities and economic developers:

  • Encourage businesses to stay in the community
  • Increase the tax base through more profitable business partners
  • Decrease unemployment rates
  • Improve the quality of life for community residents
  • Provide focused education and training to meet both individual and organization goals

Learn more about the NCRC

Industry Associations

Combining resources

ACT partners with associations and advocacy organizations representing the needs of industry sectors to develop national skills credentialing systems.

Using WorkKeys and the National Career Readiness Certificate as a foundation, industries can build credentialing systems, such as the Manufacturing Skills Certification System, that promote career pathways. After this, ACT research tools and analytic expertise can help inform ongoing skills development. This allows individuals to match their career development with evolving workplace needs.

The Manufacturing Institute

"The National Career Readiness Certificate is the world-class market leader in ensuring young adults are equipped with the basic academic skills necessary to pursue additional education, training, and employment in the manufacturing industry. The partnership between the NAM and ACT is critically important to begin addressing the workforce crisis."

Emily Stover DeRocco, former president of The Manufacturing Institute and senior vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers.

The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)

"The WorkKeys assessments ACT has built and refined over almost 20 years of solid research in the workplace will help indicate that our trainees are ready and able to succeed. The assessments and the National Career Readiness Certificate provide a consistent measure of skill levels and help identify specific training needs."

—Don Whyte, NCCER president

The Center for Energy Workforce Development

"It is imperative that we understand what it will take to get potential candidates properly trained and ready to move into entry-level positions as quickly as possible. ACT's workforce development solutions, including WorkKeys assessments and the National Career Readiness Certificate, as well as their international reputation as a data-driven assessment firm, makes them an ideal partner for CEWD as we begin the process of building tomorrow's energy workforce."

—Ann Randazzo, CEWD executive director

Partner with ACT

ACT workforce development solutions match any industry competency model.

Contact us to learn how partnering with ACT can help you prepare individuals to build career pathways in your industry.

Practice and Preparation

Using WorkKeys sample questions, practice tests, and benchmarking and assessment tools, you can easily prepare for success while identifying skills gaps and additional training opportunities. 


Don't Just Take Our Word for It

Discover how states, companies, and educational institutions use WorkKeys and the National Career Readiness Certificate.


Matching Skills to Jobs

Job profiling helps identify and document the skill requirements for specific jobs. The service is provided by ACT-authorized job profilers who work directly with employers and industries to help match their needs to the right candidates.






Measuring Success