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Friday, December 2, 2011 - 10:27am

'Work Ready' Funds Dry Up

Bryan County announced this week the state has certified it as a Work Ready community.

But that announcement could be among the last, as federal funding for the $9.5 million Georgia Work Ready program will not be available next year.

“Although we’re excited that the folks in Bryan County were able to go through the certification process and complete the goal, we just don’t know what the long-term prospects are going to be based on the lack of funding,” said Tricia Pridemore, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development.

The core of the Work Ready program is a test measuring job-seekers’ real-world math and reading abilities administered through the state’s technical colleges. Work Ready communities have committed to get a certain number of people to take the test and to measurably increase their high school graduation rates. The percentage of workers who must take the test varies with each county.

Pridemore said no data exists on how many companies use the assessment in their hiring practices, but it does have value for businesses.

“I’d like to be able to look at all of different resumes on my desk to be able to see which of those people that maybe only have their GED can actually perform math functions effectively, they can find information, and they can apply information that’s being given to them,” Pridemore said.

She said more than 300,000 people have taken the test since the program began in 2006, and the program has gotten the most traction in the manufacturing industry.

All but three Georgia counties are certified Work Ready or working to complete the certification.

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