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Pitt County Is 2nd North Carolina Community to Achieve WorkReady Certification Status

Local leaders gathered at PCC May 22 to officially acknowledge Pitt County's designation as a Certified WorkReady Community. Along with PCC, the partnership responsible for achieving WorkReady status involved the Pitt County Development Commission, Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, Pitt County Schools, Regional Workforce Development Board, MidEast Commission, and representatives from local business and industry.

WINTERVILLE—Local leaders gathered at Pitt Community College May 22 as Pitt County joined Wayne County as the only two North Carolina communities to have earned Certified WorkReady Community status.

Largely funded by the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, Inc., the WorkReady initiative is directed by North Carolina’s Eastern Region (NCER), an agency that seeks and supports opportunities for economic growth in a 13-county area of Eastern North Carolina.

“We are very pleased to declare Pitt County as a Certified WorkReady Community,” said Kathy Howard, NCER Vice President for Workforce and Client Development. “NCER is committed to workforce development as a priority to attract and retain industry and strengthen the regional economy. Without a strong network of partners and funding from the N.C. Rural Center, such an accomplishment would not be possible.”

Communities earn WorkReady designation by displaying commitment to workforce excellence and achieving certain standards, including pledges from business and industry to utilize the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) in employment practices and improved high school graduation rates.

PCC Director of Business and Industry Mary Paramore said one of the major benefits of WorkReady certification is that it brought together a number of community leaders to explore solutions for area employers and job seekers.

“It also allowed us to ‘skill up’ and certify our current workforce, allowing employers to get connected to the employees they need right now,” Paramore said.

In addition to benefitting Pitt County’s incumbent workforce and existing industry, WorkReady status is expected to help with the recruitment of new industry.

“WorkReady tells companies and site selectors that our community has the qualified labor force they need and expect,” said Wanda Yuhas, executive director of the Pitt County Development Commission. “With WorkReady status, we can assure companies that they have access to an already prepared workforce as well as to customized training. That's a very powerful message.”

As part of the WorkReady program, employers can take advantage of a free job portal that connects them with job seekers within NECR’s 13-county region. Nearly 140 employers have access to the portal, which serves any industry and level of job seeker.

For more details on WorkReady communities, visit www.ncworkready.org.