Skills-Based Workforce Development

Creating an Elite Community of Workforce Regional Partners

We know that when communities work together, they can achieve truly great things.

This is why we created ACT Work Ready Communities (WRC), a collaborative that empowers states, regions, and counties to connect and foster data-driven economic growth. We work with communities to identify and close skills gaps and develop processes and frameworks that help them take their workforce development efforts to the next level. 

With Work Ready Communities in 60% of U.S. states already, we’ve had the chance to see how this support, camaraderie, and idea sharing has helped so many communities thrive. 

Congratulations 2021 ACT Work Ready Communities Award Recipients

Each year during the ACT® Workforce Summit, we recognize outstanding ACT® Work Ready Communities (WRC) for their achievements in fostering success for learners and employers. This year’s recipients have proven their outstanding dedication to becoming certified or completing goals to maintain certification while working through one of the most challenging times in our recent history.  

Congratulations to the 2021 ACT Work Ready Communities Award recipients, who have demonstrated a commitment to developing a strong workforce pipeline, which is paramount to building stronger communities and fostering business and economic growth. 

"After six years working with WorkKeys Curriculum to help students build employability skills, our future looks a lot brighter when we help students reach for the stars." – Mary Beth Buchanan  

Mary Beth Buchanan, family and consumer science class teacher at Columbia High School in Marion County, MI, embedded the ACT® WorkKeys® Curriculum in coursework, resulting in 22 students achieving the ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificates® (NCRC®) —part of a last push to achieve the 100% certification mark!

State County
AL Escambia
AR Arkansas
AR Bradley
CO Mesa
KS Pottawatomie
LA Richland Parish
LA Jackson Parish
LA Union Parish
LA Ascension Parish
LA Grant Parish
LA St. James Parish
LA Winn Parish
LA Rapides Parish
LA Natchitoches Parish
LA  La Salle Parish
MO Laclede
MO Morgan
MO Howard
MO  Webster
MO Carroll
MO Linn
MO Washington
MO Dallas
MO Vernon
MO Taney
MO Henry
MS Smith
MS Wilkinson
MS Quitman
MS Grenada
MS Marshall
MS Marion
MS Humphreys
MS Lincoln
MS  Winston
MS  Jackson
MS Coahoma
MS Choctaw
MS Leflore
NC Catawba
NC Columbus
NC Henderson
NC Pamlico
NC Davie
NC  Carteret
NC Lenoir
NC Craven
NC Jones
NC Wayne
NV Clark
OH Lorain
OR Tillamook
OR Umatilla
TN Chester
TN Decatur
TN Greene
TN Carroll
TX Gregg
VA Buckingham
VA Prince Edward
VA Amelia
VA Charlotte


What Leaders in Workforce Development are Saying

Mike Parson, Missouri Governor

Mike Parson

“Initiatives like ACT Work Ready Communities are critical to preparing our future generation for high-skill, high-demand jobs, and we are proud to be leading the nation in this effort."

-Mike Parson, Missouri Governor

Tanya Foreman, Education Initiatives Manager, Eastman Chemical Co.

Tanya Foreman

“At Eastman, we want good-paying jobs and rewarding career opportunities for everyone in our community. And engaging in ACT Work Ready Communities is enabling us to work with other business and community leaders to introduce students and residents to ACT WorkKeys and the ACT WorkKeys NCRC and how it can help them take charge of their career decisions.”   

-Tanya Foreman, Education Initiatives Manager, Eastman Chemical Co. 

Teresa Nortillo, Nortillo Consulting Group

Teresa Nortillo

“Not only does WorkKeys function as a preferred assessment tool in industry today, but the WRC website allows me to compare communities so I can recommend to my clients the counties with the best scores and percentage of population taking the assessment.” 

-Teresa Nortillo, Nortillo Consulting Group 

Robby Burgan, Former Manager of Location Strategies, Evergreen Advisors

Robby Burgan

“ACT Work Ready Communities are setting themselves apart by intentionally developing their local workforce in support of their existing companies while positioning themselves to attract new companies." 

-Robby Burgan, Former Manager of Location Strategies, Evergreen Advisors 

Tracey Faulkner, Former Director of Human Resources, R-Tech Tool & Machine, Inc.

Tracey Faulkner

"Being a Work Ready Community champion allows the ease of hiring the best people, and trust what you hired them to do. It allows me to help match the employees to jobs based on verified skill levels. Finding the candidate who possesses the proper trade skill through the ACT Work Ready Program reduces the overall recruiting, onboarding, and training cost. It’s a win-win for all involved." 

-Tracey Faulkner, Former Director of Human Resources, R-Tech Tool & Machine, Inc. 

Work Ready Communities Use These ACT Workforce Solutions to Build a Stronger Workforce Ecosystem

National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)

A portable, industry-recognized credential that clearly identifies an individual’s work ready skills.

ACT WorkKeys

The job skill assessment taken by NCRC recipients. 

ACT WorkKeys Curriculum

A tool for helping individuals build skills critical for workplace success.

More About ACT Work Ready Communities


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