County offers free NCRC exams for select residents

Published 4:40 pm Friday, March 16, 2018

Residents of Carter County and Elizabethton will soon have an opportunity to better their livelihood and show they are “work ready.”

County Mayor Leon Humphrey announced Friday that 200 spots remain for residents looking to achieve their National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) by taking an exam. The mayor added the county is able to pay for up to 200 residents — currently employed, GED or adult education participant or current/recent active duty military — to obtain this certification with funding coming from a Three Star Grant from the state.

“The Three Star Grant will cover the cost of the first 200 residents who take the test before April 30,” Humphrey said. “Our state unemployment rate has been low, and we’re wanting to help drop that number locally with the NCRC.”

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Residents looking to sign up for the free exam can contact either the American Job Center at (423) 547-7517 ext. 100 or Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Elizabethton at (423) 342-3977.

Carter County and the rest of the First Tennessee Development District (FTDD) are in the process of being designated as an ACT Work Ready Community. The NCRC, a certificate offered through ACT, is made up of three specific assessments that measure skills that are deemed necessary for industries and occupations, including applied math, workplace documents and literacy.

ACT offers four different classifications for the NCRC: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

And the momentum is picking up, according to the mayor. Before achieving Work Ready-status from ACT, each county must achieve a goal of NCRC requirements and businesses that recognize the certification.

“It is critical that Carter County becomes certified as a Work Ready Community,” Humphrey said. “We have to be able to prove to respective business and industry that we have a qualified workforce. This will do that. We can let the world know that we have X amount of people that have taken this exam and are ranked at a specific level.”

Various businesses have gone on record to share their support of the NCRC, including Elizabethton Federal Savings Bank, City of Elizabethton, Telecommunication Service and Nuclear Fuel Services.

Humphrey added that businesses are using the NCRC as a requirement for hiring employees, citing Eastman of Kingsport as an example.

“It’s one thing to tell an employer we have a qualified workforce. This exam will show the overall ranking for what our workforce can provide to a business and industry,” he said.

Focusing in on the educational opportunities and ways to bulk up the workforce has been a key item for the county, Humphrey said.

“This is something we saw that can be a benefit to our residents,” he said. “This is an exam that would cost someone $40 and we’re able to provide it for free thanks to the Three Star Grant. We want to continue offering initiatives like the NCRC to help grow our county. Great things are happening with this and the region is taking notice.”

Visit the ACT Work Ready Communities website to learn more about the NCRC and what being designated as a community could mean for the county.