ACT Defines Work Readiness and Sets Standards and Benchmarks in New Report

Posted May 29, 2013

IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT released a new report today that establishes, for the first time, a definition of work readiness and defines the types and levels of skills needed to succeed in the workplace. As the leader in creating evidence-based solutions designed to document and develop the skills of America’s workforce, ACT is working to solve the mismatch in worker skills and employer needs.

In the report, “Work Readiness Standards and Benchmarks,” ACT articulates the specific factors important for an individual to experience success in the workplace throughout a lifetime. Those factors include:

  • what skills individuals must achieve to secure jobs currently in demand,
  • how to build the foundation for multiple job transitions throughout a career, and
  • how to align education and training programs to current job skill requirements.

“ACT developed the first evidence-based definitions of the skills needed to transition from high school to postsecondary education,” said Jon Whitmore, chief executive officer of ACT. “Today we are adding to that record by introducing empirically-based standards and benchmarks that define what is needed to transition from both secondary and postsecondary programs to employment. It’s all part of our mission to help people achieve education and workplace success.”

Melissa Murer Corrigan, interim head of workforce development at ACT, stated, “Standards and benchmarks help provide a common language to improve alignment between educators and employers. Defining work readiness is a key step toward leading a national conversation on the definition of career readiness.

“With ACT’s extensive knowledge of skills demanded by employers, combined with new developments for our ACT WorkKeys® system to assess and develop these skills, we are working to help America define work readiness standards and benchmarks as the key to differentiating our workforce and regaining global competitiveness.”

The report is available for free download at